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FROM May 15th, 2024

During my time at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2024 in Beverly Hills, I was delighted to reconnect with US based partners and allies in the global health community, as we delved into the theme "Shaping a Shared Future," and translated our shared lessons learned into the creation of meaningful, healthy, and prosperous lives for all. Meeting with Kevin Thurm, Chief Executive Officer of the Clinton Foundation, I lauded President Clinton’s lifetime of public service on HIV equity, his belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, has a responsibility to act, and does better when we work together. Energised by these values, I shared the impact of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa in expanding economic opportunity, improving public health and education, confronting the climate crisis, and inspiring citizen engagement and service, especially for women. Shortly thereafter, I connected with Dr. Neil Buddy Shah, Chief Executive Officer of The Clinton Health Access Initiative, reflecting on our mutual historical commitments to the Saving One Million Lives Initiative Nigeria, as we continue to progress the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and The Clinton Health Access Initiative allyship to improve health outcomes and demographic trajectories in low-and middle-income countries by enabling the government and private sector to strengthen and sustain quality health and wellbeing systems. To end the day, we all joined together, motivated by multi-sectoral partnerships to make strides toward a world where our combined efforts yield transformative results, as we listened to Mike Milken, Chairman of the Milken Institute, in conversation with President Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, discuss their successful initiatives in medical research, education, public health and access to capital, as two visionaries reimagining the future for our grandchildren, and generations to come.

FROM May 13th, 2024

During the recent Milken Institute Philanthropic Investors Forum held in Beverly Hills, I was specifically asked to elucidate upon my personal experience of childbirth in 1991, and its subsequent impact on my approach to knowledge acquisition, learning, and development in challenging, overcoming and rising positively from the adversity of birth trauma, which for me, had occurred in a low and middle income country, my home nation of Nigeria. Throughout the conversation, I delved into the discovery of the maternal health trajectory and the alarming statistics regarding preventable maternal and newborn mortality, which I continuously encountered and recorded through a first-hand civil registrations and vital statistics approach across Nigeria’s public health system, during my tenure as the First Lady of Kwara State in 2003, and how through this confluence of experiences, I was ultimately inspired to establish the Wellbeing Foundation Africa which has worked to constructively empower and engender safer births and safe motherhood since 2004. Later last week, which commenced the annual celebration of International Day of the Midwife on the 5th of May and looked to celebrating the annual International Nurses Day on the 12th of May, it was during the Baby Blues: The Early Days of the Motherhood Journey Roundtable Conversation at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2024, that I reflected on how the early days of motherhood are often painted with the great and good expectations of rosy hues, but in reality, and increasingly recorded around the world, the antenatal, perinatal and postpartum period can involve significant identity transformation, physical and emotional challenges, and even birth injuries, that persist far into the first year and 1000 days. Postpartum depression affects nearly one in five new mothers, often leading many to endure physical and emotional burdens for up to a year after childbirth. Consequently, roughly 43% of highly skilled women leave their careers either temporarily or permanently after giving birth, hampering economic productivity and labour markets as well. The Early Days of the Motherhood Journey Roundtable Conversation Session delved beyond the "baby blues," uncovering postpartum realities from physical recovery to mental health struggles and workforce impact. Having long championed the skills, capacities, and competencies of midwives and nurses as Emeritus Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), and as a supporter of the Nursing Now Challenge, which advocates for leadership development opportunities for student and early career nurses and midwives around the world, I was immediately propelled into asking why there were no professional midwives or nurses at the colloquium table: as the gathering fielded questions and answers, hearing from mothers, healthcare professionals, doulas, advocates, and investors, who addressed resource shortcomings, investment prospects, and strategies for enhancing maternal support during this pivotal period to create a future where mothers are truly seen, heard, empowered, and invested in the way they should be. Having worked in Nigeria, and with many global efforts, such as the Every Woman Every Child #EWEC movement to intensify national and international commitment and action by governments, the UN, multilaterals, private sector and civil society to keep women's, children's and adolescents' health and wellbeing at the heart of development, Nigeria’s first and oldest country member of the esteemed and dedicated Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health, and currently a PMNCH MNCH Workstream Working Group Member, for over 20 years towards safe motherhood, I am particularly alarmed and appalled by the rising data which finds that Black women are five times, and Asian women two times, more likely to die in the perinatal period than white women. Described in 2022 as an ‘urgent human rights issue and urgent action must be taken to address it’ (Birthrights, 2022), this annual report continues to show no positive change to the health outcomes of BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) women. Within the UK, the All-Party Parliamentary Group #APPG on Birth Trauma has this year in January 2024, established the first national inquiry in the UK Parliament to investigate the reasons for birth trauma and to develop policy recommendations to reduce the rate of birth trauma. Today, the inquiry into traumatic childbirths has been released, and calls for an overhaul of the UK's maternity and postnatal care after finding poor care is "all-too-frequently tolerated as normal." With harrowing evidence from more than 1,300 women - some said they were left in blood-soaked sheets while others said their children had suffered life-changing injuries due to medical negligence, women complained they were not listened to when they felt something was wrong, were mocked or shouted at and denied basic needs such as pain relief. A pivotal recommendation is to engage a new maternity commissioner who would report directly to the prime minister, along with ensuring safe levels of healthcare staffing. It has been proven that BAME women report positive experiences when in receipt of woman‐centred midwifery care, and at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, an element of the role of the WBFA midwife is to be an advocate for the women in our care, as midwives have a long and proud tradition of providing care that addresses health inequalities. I recall advocating and exemplifying the need for midwives for the most vulnerable populations through the Midwives Service Scheme established by the Nigerian federal government in 2009 until 2015 to address the scarcity of skilled health workers in rural communities by temporarily redistributing newly qualified, unemployed and retired midwives from urban communities to rural primary healthcare centres #PHCs to ensure improved access to skilled care. The scheme was designed as a collaboration among federal, state and local governments, yet the inability of the federal government to substantially influence the health care agenda of sub-national governments was a significant impediment to the achievement of the objectives of the Midwives Service Scheme, as the issues in retention, availability and training of midwives, and varying levels of commitment from state and local governments across the country, alongside women still choosing to deliver at home despite the availability of skilled birth attendants at MSS facilities, led to a lack of community and facility collaboration within the health sector, but provides many learnings we can take ahead in our journey to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The WBFA Mamacare360 Antenatal and Postnatal Education Classes, led as an Independent Maternity Program of Community Midwifery, are key patient advocates with regular and on-demand engagement for the central 1001 days of antenatal and postnatal care, while providing the full continuum of care through to child-centred personal, social, health and economic education and water, sanitation and hygiene practices at school age and beyond. Twenty years onwards since establishment, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa provides and delivers a lifesaving and quality improving panacea of programming for mothers and newborns across Nigeria, and while the challenges and solutions surrounding MNCH continue to evolve, certain foundational elements persist as revolutionary to this paradigm, including the imperative of respectful maternity care fostered by more midwives and nurses, which encompasses a holistic approach within specialised programmatic frontline solutions, such as Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC) training for medical providers and midwives; a package of care for mothers and neonates when severe life-threatening complications occur during pregnancy, child delivery, and postpartum, believed to avert three-fourths of maternal mortality, the encouragement and uptake in breastfeeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units through lactation support programs, mental health safe spaces and services established by midwives and nurses, and a full spectrum of interventions designed to mitigate risks, provide timely interventions, and foster optimal health and wellbeing outcomes for both mothers and newborns. A fundamental question continues to persist in all of these cases: when to seek medical assistance. This question underscores the critical need for robust birth preparedness education, ensuring that expectant mothers are equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to make informed decisions regarding their health and that of their newborns, as partners in their own care journey, led by quality trained midwives and nurses. Looking ahead, the continued development of maternal and newborn care demands a multifaceted approach at a global scale, for full maternity care overhaul and reform. This includes the expansion of resources such as midwifery and nursing personnel, as according to the UNFPA State of the World’s Midwifery Report, midwives can meet about 90% of the need for essential sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health interventions, yet there is a global shortage of 1.1 million SRH and MCA healthcare providers, with 900,000 being midwives. With less than 2 Midwives Per 1000 People in Nigeria, 4 Midwives per 1000 People in the United States, and 9 Midwives per 1000 in the United Kingdom as according to the World Bank, and with global recommendation of 1 Midwife per 26 to 34 births, we must recruit, remunerate, regulate, replenish and resource midwifery and nursing services through upskilling and training - a universal requirement in improving and increasing the availability and quality of maternity care, counsel and support. Alongside this, increased attention to Integrated Maternal Newborn Child Health strategies, whose original consultations began in Nigeria at my request in 2007, to bolster and fortify the foundation upon which all MNCH trajectories are built are required, advancing the global health community towards a future where every mother and newborn receives the care and support they deserve.

FROM May 9th, 2024

Milken Institute Global Conference 2024: Philanthropic Investors Forum I deeply appreciate the honour of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s vision and mission being featured at the Milken Institute Philanthropic Investors Forum Opening Plenary Perspective, as we enter our 20th year of focused impact through improving health system strengthening, workforce capacities and personal social health, education and economic determinants for every woman, every child, every family, and communities to thrive, from safe motherhood, childhood, through to the life course of senior age. In the “Philanthropists Journey To Transformative Change” colloquium moderated by Melissa Stevens, Executive Vice President, MI Philanthropy, Milken Institute, I joined Jeffrey Katzenberg, Former Chairman, Walt Disney Studio, Founding Partner, WndrCo on the stage, as we highlighted the transformative moments that shaped our respective philanthropic endeavours setting the path to being more visionary strategic donors. From the initial spark of inspiration to action that defined our giving and programmatic approaches, we offered our unique perspectives on the challenges (and joys) we encountered along the way, to the impact we continue to seek and activate in the giving environment we consistently actuate. It was lovely to meet the hugely inspirational range of participating philanthropic leaders including Nigerian-Kenyan Masai Ujiri, Vice Chairman and President, Toronto Raptors, Founder, Giants of Africa and the Zaria group, as I explored the insights offered at the Philanthropic Investors Forum plenaries and breakout sessions focused on People: The Impact of Philanthropy to Better Lives and Livelihoods, Paradigms: Exploring Innovations in Philanthropic Giving, Place: Exploring the Role and Power of Place-Based Giving, and the closing thoughts of future considerations of Prospective: What’s Next for Corporate Foundations.

FROM May 5th, 2024

Sustainable Midwifery: Caring for Tomorrow’s World On the 32nd International Day of the Midwife, I am truly honoured to join highly esteemed Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Ibu Robin Lim, and Ginger Garcia, in delivering keynote addresses to the Virtual International Day of the Midwife, a 24-hour Conference focusing on midwifery as a vital solution in adapting health systems to combat climate change, as midwives and their practice deliver safe and environmentally sustainable health services and are first responders when climate disasters hit. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Midwives promote and advocate the standards and frameworks of the International Confederation of Midwives in our mission as continuous providers of safe, quality and ecologically sound health and wellbeing services, especially in the face of the climate crisis, which carries specific threats for women and girls, as hotter temperatures can lead to pregnancy complications and worsen maternal-health issues including premature births. Midwives are instrumental in ensuring that health services are more mobile and can urgently reach women, yet a global shortage of nearly one million midwives and a lack of international commitment to invest limits their capacity, while further reinforcing the latest data that every two minutes a woman or girl dies during pregnancy, childbirth or its aftermath. By replenishing and ramping up investing in midwifery education, training and services, and scaling midwifery-delivered care, we aim to contribute to saving 4.3M women and newborns annually by 2035, and to the Global Midwifery Acceleration Roadmap, jointly developed by UNFPA, UNICEF, World Health Organisation and International Confederation of Midwives and global partners, to be launched at the World Health Summit. Midwives are the providers of culturally sensitive health care, as leaders in their communities, and emergency responders, representing the single-most effective way to achieve safe motherhood and avoid preventable maternal deaths. Today I celebrate the courage and value of midwives globally, and wish everyone a Happy International Day of Midwives 2024!

 
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FROM May 1st, 2024

It is wonderful to wish everyone a happy International Worker's Day and a great new month as I support an exciting new workstream initiative, Unifying Midwifery In Africa: Reimagine, Reignite, Rise! It was my pleasure to virtually provide the opening goodwill remarks to the Summit on Unifying Midwifery in Africa for the African Mother, Child and Adolescent, convened in Accra, Ghana, by a 12-member Steering Committee co-chaired by Centre for Health Development and Research-CEHDAR, bringing together colleagues from over 29 African countries, the USA and the Caribbean, including the Nigeria delegation led by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, to empower African Midwives. The recent State of the World’s Midwifery Report has established that when midwives are educated to international standards, and midwifery includes the provision of family planning, it could avert more than 80% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Achieving this impact also requires midwives to be licensed, regulated, fully integrated into health systems, and working in interprofessional teams. When midwives are equipped with the necessary education, resources, and support, they have the power to achieve global, regional, and national Reproductive maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health goals. Together, midwives and allies will seek to employ a human-centred consultative process to deliberate and align around key issues influencing midwifery professional development in Africa and the potential impact of a continental coordinating body, while providing an avenue for African midwife leaders and stakeholders to recommend a roadmap and strategic actions for determining the way forward in uniting midwifery in Africa towards improving outcomes for mothers and families. I was honoured to deliver my expertise, experience and passion for midwifery, as the Wellbeing Foundation Africa represents our Nigerian collective, and defines the strategic directions to mobilise African midwives in culturally adapting the global health agenda to align with regional and national-level evidence-based interventions and promote the African maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health agenda for 2030 and beyond.

FROM April 26th, 2024

I was delighted to receive a special invitation and participate in the Unveiling of "The Godmothers; Mentorship Series," a joint initiative of the Gender Strategy Advancement International and She Forum Africa, alongside eminent multi-sectoral women leaders such as Dr Amina Aminu Dorayi, Ene Obi, Former Senator Biodun Olujimi, and Dr Peju Adenusi, and upcoming young women, introduced to nurture co-leadership skills and strengthen emerging voices that can further shape the narrative around women's inclusion, particularly, in the build-up to the next election cycle. Inspired by the vision of consciously and intentionally establishing safe learning and sharing space to build intergenerational trust and foster co-leadership, this refreshing platform envisages inspiring accountability and self-leadership for women now and women of the future. I was pleased to support and share my experiences in building more women's confidence to enter the political space as a result of safe spaces which empower and engender regardless of background or political affiliations. By capturing critical conversations and enabling them to evolve as community-owned, community-driven activations of emerging voices, I applaud the inaugural meeting, and congratulate my dear and very senior mentee Inimfon Etuk, her co-creator Adaora, and the entire She Forum Africa and Gender Strategy Advancement International team!

FROM April 25th, 2024

Yesterday in Abuja, as Nigeria and Africa Member of the International Steering Council for the International Conference on Population and Development ICPD25 and ICPD30, and as a Friend of UNFPA, I welcomed my dear colleague, sister and friend, Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA and United Nations Under-Secretary-General, once again to Nigeria as we marked a major milestone, in launching the 2024 State of the World Population #SWOP Report, Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope, Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Coming together to weave a path forward, and ensure that the next 30 years of progress includes everyone, the report highlight that while progress has been made, it is not being done so fast enough, nor far-reaching enough. Gender-based violence remains rampant in nearly every country and community, and there has been zero reduction in maternal mortality since 2016 globally, with the current lifetime risk of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion care about 1 in 22, and many African women still unable to exercise decisions on their health, an imperative human right. As a core frontline community stakeholder committed to achieving the ICPD Programme of Action, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is committed to; zero unmet needs for family planning and services, zero preventable maternal and infant deaths, zero sexual and gender-based violence including early and forced marriage, as well as ending female genital mutilation, through advocating for and implementing programming which emphasises the importance of keeping girls in school, prioritises family planning, reduces inequality in health access, works towards combating HIV/AIDS, and fosters wellbeing spaces which are lowering maternal and infant mortality rates globally. Our vision for the future must be a future for all, and as it gains momentum, in which strengthening the rights and welfare of individuals reinforces those of the collective, I commend and congratulate key leaders, Honourable Nasir Isa Kwarra, Chairman, National Population Commission Nigeria, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator represented by the Country Representative UNICEF Nigeria, Ms Christian Munduate, H.E. Professor Muhammad Ali Pate CON, in his capacity as Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare and representing Their Excellencies the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR and the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima CON respectively, Chairman, Senate Committee on Population, Senator Mustapha Musa, His Royal Highness the Emir of Shonga, Royal Fathers and Traditional Rulers Development Partners, H.E. Richard Montgomery the British High Commissioner, H.E. Jamie Christoff, Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria, all members of the Diplomatic Community, and Friends of UNFPA, for their solidarity at this pivotal point in history towards faster progress in ending marginalization and discrimination.

FROM April 24th, 2024

Last Friday, I was delighted to provide a virtual Goodwill Message to the Women in Healthcare Forum, taking place in collaboration with the Women in Healthcare Network during the Medic West Africa Conference in Lagos on #FrontlineFriday. Under the theme “POW(H)ER CONNECT: Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers,” the mutual mission to connect, inform, and inspire women in the healthcare industry is vital, providing a platform for networking, mentorship, education, and advocacy, empowering women to reach their full potential and break down barriers within the field. Women make up 70% of the global health and social workforce, providing essential health services for around 5 billion people worldwide, and according to The Lancet, in Nigeria nearly all midwives, 87% of nursing personnel, and 65% of medical doctors are women, yet women’s contributions to health and the health labour market remain markedly undervalued, and they are vastly underrepresented in senior health leadership positions. Women in health tend to be clustered into lower status, low paid, and often unpaid roles. The healthcare development agenda in Nigeria and across Africa must better value women’s contributions to the population’s physical, social and mental wellbeing. Alongside this, equity issues pertaining to decent work free from all forms of discrimination is necessary for all United Nations member states to address if the 15 million health worker shortfall to achieve Universal Health Care is to be redressed in an inclusive and sustainable way. Where Women Lead in Health, Transformation Tends to Follow; I extend a heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Dupe Elebute-Odunsi and all the founding members of the Women in Healthcare Network Nigeria for their dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to engendering women in the healthcare sector. I wish you all a Happy NewWeek, may it be filled with productivity and meaningful connections for impact! WATCH THE SPEECH

FROM April 24th, 2024

As I virtually round up my observation of the 2024 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund taking place this week in Washington DC, I am honoured to be invited to contribute to the Women Political Leaders breakfast conversation titled “Her Health, Our Priority: A Demand for Equity”, supported by Bayer, in the context of the spring meetings. Women’s health remains a global imperative, and despite significant progress in recent decades, gender disparities and inequalities persist, affecting access to healthcare services, research funding, and leadership representation. The conversation, ‘Her Health, Our Priority: A Demand for Equity’ seeks to address these imbalances and ensure fair, equitable access to healthcare for all women and girls. Good health is a key aspect of wellbeing and a fundamental human right, and the World Bank’s Science of Delivery investigates on how to create the right incentives for high-quality healthcare service delivery throughout #LMICs as poor health places high costs on individuals, households, firms, and governments. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa recognises that long term improvements in personal, social, health and economic education, alongside enterprise and employment opportunities, have a positive impact on the health of women and girls, and that of their families and communities. Through strengthening and expanding essential health services for women, including nutrition and wellbeing, improving policies, and promoting more positive attitudes and behaviour towards girls education and women’s health, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa designs and implements programmes which address the constraints to women’s access to care, while ensuring women are empowered. Welcoming the first ever Health Day at #COP28, discussing Heat & Health with the Bayer AG Team in the ICC Pavilion, Blue Zone; continuing co-creation collaborations established with multi-sectoral leaders, as we contribute to the #WBG goal to support countries in delivering quality and affordable health services to 1.5 billion people by 2030.  

FROM April 16th, 2024

On the 10-year mark of the Chibok abductions this week, as 90 girls remain in captivity, and the country recovers from another abduction of schoolchildren in Kaduna State in March of this year, I support the UNICEF action plan to secure children's education in Nigeria, as the new report released states that just 37% of schools across 10 states have early warning systems in place to identify threats, such as school attacks, while calling for government accountability, and renewed commitment to rehabilitation efforts for survivors.  With child abductions becoming increasingly frequent in the last 10 years, with conflict-related violence leading to more than 1,680 children abducted while at school and else where; 180 children killed due to attacks on schools; an estimated 60 school staff kidnapped and 14 killed; and more than 70 attacks on schools, according to verified reports by the United Nations, and given the alarming statistics in the ‘Minimum Standards for Safe Schools (MSSS) Monitoring Report,’ it is evident that our efforts to safeguard our children's futures in Nigeria must be amplified, addressing not only the symptoms but also the root causes of this crisis.  Despite initial assurances, the ongoing captivity of some of the Chibok girls serves as a stark reminder of the need for greater accountability and action of political will to ensure all schools across all states have the resources and tools to fully implement the #MSSS, focusing on the most vulnerable regions to close the critical gaps in safe school infrastructure, strengthen law enforcement and security measures to protect educational institutions and communities from attacks and abductions, prioritise education and child protection in national policies and budget allocations to create a safer, more inclusive environment for all Nigerian children, and ensure the continuity of education and learning when schools are shut through multiple learning pathways such as digital platforms.  The lack of tangible domestic intelligence, knowledge sharing and learning, transparency and deterrent measures to effectively address the scourge of abductions, despite the Safe Schools Initiative, is deeply disheartening and underscores the urgent need for greater accountability and measurable justice. I will continue to insist that the establishment of a register of victims of forced disappearance is imperative at the global, regional, and national levels, for governments to fulfil their obligations under international law, uphold human rights standards, and demonstrate their commitment to combating impunity. Furthermore, comprehensive rehabilitation must be at the forefront as we strive to support survivors in rebuilding their lives, including programs which address the physical, emotional, and psychological needs to ensure long-term recovery and wellbeing, alongside concrete steps to tackle the insecurity and militancy in the region. Education is a fundamental right and a crucial pathway in achieving peace and prosperity, yet for too many Nigerian children, it remains unsafe and unattainable. As we analyse and assess the past 10 years, we must pledge to protect children and promote the recovery of those who suffer abuses, and call on the federal government, including the military, to ensure the prosecution of those who have overseen the widespread abduction, torture and murder of children and girls, while highlighting the need to invest more substantially in education and take concrete steps to reduce the barriers that deny many children access to school.

FROM March 22nd, 2024

This World Water Day, I am delighted to highlight the progress we have made in activating the Wellbeing Foundation Africa UN Water Conference commitments, actioning the critical importance of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene as fundamental human rights for dignity, stability and good health, while advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, to address the global water crisis, in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for All by 2030. The World Health Organization states that 50% of healthcare facilities worldwide lack basic hygiene, while approximately 32% of healthcare facilities in Africa do not have access to hand hygiene facilities at the points of care. The joint report from UNICEF and WHO reveals that 839 million individuals and 38% of schools continue to lack essential hygiene facilities across the continent. In urban regions, 50% of the population lacks access to these services, compared to 70% in rural areas, highlighting significant disparities. Water scarcity and contamination pose significant challenges to communities around Africa and the globe and repercussions of this crisis are dire, affecting health, education, livelihoods, and overall socio-economic development.   As featured in The Reckitt Social Impact Investment Report 2023, to address these statistics, and improve outcomes, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest Programme, generously supported by the partnership with the global hygiene brand Reckitt and their commitments to the Clean Naija initiative, provides access to clean water while building long-lasting hygiene habits and community behavioural change. Throughout the next 24 months of Phase 2 programming, WBFA midwives, nurses and healthcare workers will increase the impact and focus on students at schools, mothers and healthcare workers at healthcare facilities, and community members across Lagos, Abuja, and Kwara State. By recognizing safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene as fundamental human rights, we acknowledge the intrinsic value of water in ensuring human dignity and wellbeing. Moreover, we commit to addressing disparities and inequities in access, ensuring that no one is left behind. This inclusivity is not just a moral imperative but also a pragmatic approach towards building resilient and sustainable societies. Sustainable Development Goal 6 provides a comprehensive framework for action, encompassing targets related to water quality, water use efficiency, water governance, and the protection of ecosystems. Achieving these targets demands innovation, investment, and concerted efforts at all levels. It requires embracing nature-based solutions, investing in infrastructure, promoting water stewardship, and fostering behavioural change. Beyond meeting basic needs, water plays a pivotal role in driving economic growth and fostering peace and stability. Access to reliable water and sanitation services is essential for industries, agriculture, and energy production, underpinning economic activities and livelihoods. Moreover, water scarcity can exacerbate social tensions and conflict, particularly in regions where resources are scarce.       Conversely, effective water management can be a catalyst for cooperation and peacebuilding. Transboundary water resources often transcend political boundaries, necessitating collaborative approaches for their sustainable management. By fostering dialogue, building trust, and sharing benefits equitably, water can become a source of cooperation rather than conflict. The 2024 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report UNWWDR calls attention to the complex and interlinked relationships between water, prosperity and peace, emphasising that only through the power of united partnerships between the private sector, public sector and governments, can we prioritise financial innovation in water infrastructure as per the World Bank Strategic Framework and the policy, research and development needed to lay the principal foundations of a more water resilient and hygiene harmonious future aligned with the Water Action Agenda.  In doing so, we not only pave the way for a more prosperous and equitable future but also contribute to a world where water becomes a symbol of peace, cooperation, and shared prosperity. Together, let us turn the tide on the global water crisis and usher in an era of water security and sustainable development for all.            

FROM March 8th, 2024

On this International Women's Day, as we inspire inclusion and equitable investments, Nigeria's commendable efforts to strengthen public health through the introduction of the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) into routine immunisation, targeting 7.7 million girls, is a monumental stride forward. This initiative, set to be the largest single-round HPV vaccination campaign in the African region, holds promise in combating the virus responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer and will accelerate the progress of the global health agenda. As we commend this noteworthy endeavour, I, in my capacity as Founder & President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, a distinguished member of the Africa REACH Leadership Council, and the Inaugural Global Health Ambassador for the World Health Organization Foundation, am acutely aware of the profound impact such policies can have on the health and wellbeing of young girls and women. However, while we celebrate this health investment and progress, it is imperative to broaden our focus beyond solely immunisation efforts and shine a light on interconnected groups integral to providing the immunisation and bolstering sustainability in our healthcare systems – midwives, nurses, caregivers and community health workers (CHW), the majority of whom are women, as 67% of the global health and social care workforce are women according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has identified the need to increase equitable access to healthcare workers by 2030. Many countries with limited health resources have established midwives and women community health workers to be a point of connection between communities and the health system, addressing the need for grassroots-based care, equity of access and health coverage gaps. In most countries, CHWs are female and have a uniquely valuable social and cultural role, just as midwives are also mostly female and have an essential life-saving role for women and newborns. Midwives, nurses and CHWs play pivotal roles in vaccination efforts, particularly in combating HIV transmission, while also addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) concerns. Midwives and nurses, often serving as frontline healthcare providers, are integral in administering vaccinations, including those aimed at preventing HIV transmission from mother to child. For example, our Wellbeing Foundation Africa Midwives implement the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programming within our Mamacare360 antenatal and postnatal classes, ensuring that pregnant women living with HIV receive necessary vaccinations and interventions to protect their infants. Additionally, midwives and nurses provide education and support to mothers regarding the importance of vaccinations for themselves and their children, while also addressing SRHR issues with women and girls such as support for family planning, contraception, information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and ensuring access to reproductive health services, thus contributing significantly to improving SRHR outcomes. CHWs, especially women CHWs serve as vital connectors between healthcare facilities and communities, promoting vaccination awareness and facilitating access to services. Often, as trusted members of the community, they advocate for vaccine uptake and provide personal social and health education about the benefits of vaccination, while also addressing SRHR concerns within communities. In the context of HIV, both midwives, nurses and CHWs are instrumental in the implementation of HIV vaccination programmes, such as administering vaccines for hepatitis B, which can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission. They also provide essential support and guidance to individuals living with HIV, emphasising the importance of adherence to vaccination schedules and other preventive measures. The roles of midwives, nurses and CHWs in vaccination efforts, particularly concerning HIV, are indispensable in advancing public health goals and promoting comprehensive SRHR services. A commentary published by the National Library of Medicine highlights that while PMTCT programs historically emphasised preventing HIV transmission from mother to child, there's a pressing need to prevent HIV in women of reproductive age, prevent unintended pregnancies in women living with HIV and enhance maternal and sexual and reproductive health services. Our public health strategies and policies must embrace this 360 approach, acknowledging the unique health challenges faced by women throughout their reproductive years, and engendering our midwives, nurses and women CHWs to support them. Recognising the indispensable roles of midwives, nurses, caregivers and CHWs, I, together with my fellow Africa REACH Leadership Council members, issue a heartfelt call to action, urging governments not only to prioritise maternal vaccines but also to provide unwavering support to these dedicated individuals and the crucial work they do in vaccine administration and uptake. We as WBFA and Africa REACH assert that self-sufficiency in vaccine production is essential for the nation, highlighting the need to strengthen Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) to fulfil their role in keeping people well and addressing uncomplicated ailments. The recent announcement on HPV vaccination is a positive step, but it is just the beginning. The alarming situation of cervical cancer and breast cancer as leading causes of death for women in Nigeria underscores the urgency for a more integrated approach. I continue to advocate and express my concern over the limited availability of resources and diagnostic tools, emphasising the need for a more comprehensive healthcare infrastructure to alleviate screening challenges, which not only impede early detection and treatment but also exacerbate the burden of preventable diseases on women's health. This International Women's Day, let us collectively advocate for comprehensive legislation, policies, sustainable financing, and ongoing global support are essential to fortify the efforts of these frontline female heroes, not just today but every day! Signed, Her Excellency Toyin Ojora Saraki

FROM February 27th, 2024

As an inaugural member of the Africa REACH Leadership Council, convened and chaired by H.E. Monica Geingos, and dedicated to advancing the health and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS, I am honoured to reflect on our journey as we mark the one-year anniversary of our African-led, African-focused efforts to fulfil the promise of an AIDS-free generation in Africa. This milestone is a testament to our collective dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to health for all. From the formal launch at the African Union Heads of States Summit and the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development General Assembly in Addis Ababa in February 2023, Africa REACH, guided by our Strategic Plan 2023-2025, has forged formidable partnerships within the HIV response community with allies such as the African Union Commission, AIDS Watch Africa, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, ViiV Healthcare, and Desmond Tutu Health Foundation, to actively engage in advocacy at both national and continental levels, positioning Africa REACH as a catalyst for change, from funding community-led initiatives across Africa to initiating policy change at the highest levels. As we review the past twelve months, we recognise that our mission demands continuous innovation and a relentless pursuit of progress to end AIDS in children and young people in Africa by 2025, and as we aim to achieve the promises of the Abuja Declaration, through ensuring the pledge that each African nation allocates 15% of their annual budgets to the health sector.  

FROM February 27th, 2024

The promise of a more equitable world, as outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, hinges significantly on the health and rights of women and children. However, this promise remains unfulfilled, marked by gaping inequities which fuel global health crises. Without addressing these disparities, our aspiration for a healthier, safer, and fairer world by 2030 will remain fleeting. Despite a 38% decline in the global maternal mortality ratio from 2000 to 2020, the pace of reduction falls short of the target needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In Nigeria, the situation reflects this global trend, with maternal mortality rates remaining unacceptably high. Data from Nigeria underscores the urgency of the situation, with an estimated 1047 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, the third highest in Africa(1). This stark reality emphasises the pressing need for accelerated action to address maternal health disparities and improve outcomes for mothers and newborns across the country. The landscape of maternal and newborn health in Nigeria is characterised by both challenges and triumphs, and while progress has been made, particularly through the efforts of dedicated healthcare professionals, policymakers, and international partners, exemplified by initiatives such as the Federal Government's National Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centre #NEMCHIC and State Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centres #SEMCHIC, which serve as catalysts for change at both national and grassroots levels, the persistence of high mortality rates underscores the need for sustained community action on the frontlines, which the Wellbeing Foundation Africa champions as the leading non-governmental organisation advocating to reach the most vulnerable populations, and implementing programming for quality maternal, newborn and child healthcare. Central to these efforts is the promotion of community midwifery, which plays a vital role in delivering essential care to expectant mothers, particularly in rural areas. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Midwives, trained and supported by WBFA, not only provide the World Health Organization recommended antenatal and postnatal classes through Mamacare360, alongside other clinical services but also serve as trusted members of their communities, working with adolescent in bolstering Personal, Social, Health and Economic #PSHE and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene #WASH, education, while addressing socio-cultural factors that impact maternal, newborn, child and adolescent wellbeing. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has been instrumental in driving progress for initiatives such as Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care #BEmONC and Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care #EmONC, a set of seven key obstetric services, or ‘signal functions,’ a life-saving intervention, introduced by the WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA in 1997 as an organising framework for the delivery of evidence-based clinical services, as a critical component of any programme to reduce maternal and newborn mortality, with skilled birth attendants providing these services within the context of community-focused and facility-based health systems, enabling timely prevention of and intervention for these complications and saving the lives of mothers and newborns(2). Supported by community midwifery and strategic partnerships, WBFA is committed to providing universal access across Nigeria to EmONC, which is considered essential to reduce maternal mortality and requires that all pregnant women and newborns with complications have rapid access to well-functioning facilities that include a broad range of service delivery types and settings(3). Receiving care at health facilities is crucial for maternal and newborn health, but it involves more than just access. Factors such as the organisation of facilities, the quality of care provided, and the availability of trained staff and essential equipment play pivotal roles. Efficient management of obstetric emergency situations relies on addressing these factors comprehensively. However, it's essential to acknowledge that success in maternal health programmes require facility readiness but also addressing the three delays: delay in seeking care, delay in reaching care, and delay in receiving care. The strategic partnership between the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, the United Nations Population Fund, exemplified this, as together, we have continuously orchestrated transformative advocacy and policy campaigns, rooted in the essence of SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being, to tackle all three delays, as without doing so, the effectiveness of any safe motherhood programming will be limited. Given these essential evidence based learnings, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is looking forward to implementing our new programme, Advanced Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care competency-based curriculum for resident doctors in obstetrics and gynaecology at the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, in partnership with our long-standing allies, the esteemed Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 2024. The overall goal of the project is to improve the availability of quality advanced EmONC at national and sub-national hospitals by strengthening the capacity of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria to deliver advanced EmONC competency-based curriculum to resident doctors in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, taking significant strides towards strengthening Nigeria's healthcare workforce. A project of the Global Health Workforce Programme Grant, funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and managed by the Tropical Health and Education Trust and Ducit Blue, the programme has the ambition of achieving more resilient health systems for post-pandemic recovery and supporting progress toward Universal Health Coverage, and will engage experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and experienced master trainers in advanced EmONC from LSTM. The objectives of the project include engaging with stakeholders in post-graduate medical education in OBGYN to agree and adapt the training package for revision courses and examination OSCE, identifying host institutions in Abuja and Lagos to establish one advanced EmONC Centre of Excellence (CoE) in each site, establishing a sustainable system for operating the CoE for postgraduate OBGYN revision courses in advanced EmONC, supporting the NPMCN in providing training to residents and ensuring quality assurance of the training at the CoE, and evaluating the programme for accountability and dissemination purposes. Post-training, health workers will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide timely and appropriate care for pregnant women and newborns, including identifying and managing complications, conducting safe deliveries, and providing postpartum care. The Advanced EmONC training programme is expected to impact maternal and child health outcomes in Nigeria significantly, reducing the risk of maternal and newborn deaths will improve overall health outcomes for women and children in the region. The programme's success will be testament to the commitment and collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, national and international partners, and the dedicated health workers in Nigeria. Alongside this, the commitment shown by the NEMCHIC and SEMCHIC demonstrates a crucial political will to extend the gains achieved in Primary Health Centers, where the seven skills and drills are most needed. This concerted effort is essential for ensuring that maternal and newborn health initiatives are effectively implemented at the sub-national level with policy and advocacy at the national level, thereby making significant strides towards reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates throughout Nigeria. The greatest lifetime risk for a mother and her baby occurs during childbirth, therefore as we continue our work in achieving the 2030 Agenda, sustained investment in community midwifery, alongside strategic partnerships and training-led, data-driven interventions, is essential to overcoming the barriers to maternal and newborn health in Nigeria. By honouring the promise of motherhood and ensuring access to quality care for every woman and child, we can transform the landscape of maternal and newborn health for generations to come across Africa. _______________________________________________ (1) World Health Organization, UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund and The World Bank, Trends in Maternal Mortality: 2000 to 2020 WHO, Geneva, 2023. (2) World Health Organization. Making pregnancy safer: the critical role of the skilled attendant: a joint statement by WHO, ICM and FIGO. World Health Organization, 2004. (3) Campbell, Oona MR, and Wendy J. Graham. "Strategies for reducing maternal mortality: getting on with what works." The Lancet 368.9543 (2006): 1284-1299.

FROM February 16th, 2024

I was delighted to join and provide a goodwill keynote message at the Nigeria Launch of the Global Health Workforce Programme in Abuja yesterday, alongside the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Team, hosted by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Nigeria, in partnership with The Tropical Health and Education Trust - THET, and Ducit Blue Solutions. With the announcement of 33 Health Partnerships as successful grantees of the Global Health Workforce Programme across Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care, the Global Health Workforce Programme will develop the health workforce, supporting them to build more resilient health systems for post-pandemic recovery and to make progress towards universal health coverage. In addressing critical health partners, stakeholders, and the 10 successful grant partnerships from Nigeria, including the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine - LSTM Partnership, I emphasised the importance of fostering local ownership and sustainability, as each partnership will advance programmatic outcomes, such as enhancing health workforce leadership capacity in alignment with strategic health workforce initiatives, advocating for a reduction in gender disparities, and improving both the quantity and quality of training opportunities for healthcare professionals. Highly skilled, resilient staff are the backbone of a strong health service, and the grants launched today will vastly impact the performance of health systems in Nigeria, having a knock-on effect on boosting global pandemic preparedness and reducing health inequalities globally, as over one billion people have no access to qualified health workers. The Launch was also marked by Goodwill Messages from the Representatives of the Hon. Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, represented by Dr Chris Isokponu, Director of Health Planning, Research and Statistics, British High Commissioner H.E. Richard Montgomery, represented by Dr Ebere Anyachukwu, Health Adviser, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office Nigeria, and Country Director WHO Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulumbo, and Head, Health Systems Strengthening, Dr Nwakaego Chukwukaodinaka, respectively.

FROM February 12th, 2024

With the goal of "Empowering Africa: Unveiling the Hidden Drivers Shaping Tomorrow," I am honoured to have delivered my keynote address at the 10th Annual St Andrews Africa Summit, a commendable student-led and university-supported initiative dedicated to the challenges and opportunities we face on the continent. I am particularly heartened by the summit's focus on women and children's health alongside science and technology, especially as we commemorated the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science, yesterday, emphasising women’s leadership in science to foster a new era for sustainability, while driving socio-economic development. From improving health to combating climate change, women and girls play a critical role in the science and technology communities, and it is essential that their participation is strengthened, especially since STEM is widely regarded as critical to national economies across Africa. I urged each student to seize the opportunity to be inspired, to learn, and to commit to action, as we are reminded of the transformative impact that collective action can have. Through platforms like such, we can foster open and respectful political dialogue, inspire technical innovation, and mobilise sustainable resources, leading to the unveiling of the hidden drivers shaping tomorrow's Africa, a future defined by hope, resilience, prosperity, and boundless opportunity. Watch the Keynote: [video width="1200" height="1200" mp4="https://toyinsaraki.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Keynote.mp4"][/video]   Written Keynote: Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests, and students of St. Andrews, It is with immense pleasure that I join you today on this momentous occasion, as we gather for the 10th annual St. Andrews Africa Summit. For a decade now, the St. Andrews Africa Summit has served as a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and action on the pressing issues facing Africa—a testament to the unwavering commitment of this student-led initiative and university-supported endeavour towards a more empowered Africa. As the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, and Inaugural Global Health Ambassador for the World Health Organization, I am deeply honoured today to join you in exploring this year's theme: "Empowering Africa: Unveiling the Hidden Drivers Shaping Tomorrow." This theme resonates profoundly with the challenges and opportunities we face on the continent, and I commend the organisers for their foresight in selecting such a vital topic, especially as 18 African countries, a third of the population in Africa, head to the polls in 2024. The importance of democratic governance cannot be overstated. Democracy empowers citizens, especially our youth to participate in the decision-making process, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs addressed. With a flourishing youth population, the voices and votes of young people have the power to drive meaningful change and pave the way for a more inclusive and prosperous Africa. As we reflect on the journey of the St. Andrews Africa Summit over the past decade, we are reminded of the transformative impact that collective action can have on shaping the future of our continent. It is through platforms like this one today, in which we can foster open and respectful political dialogue, inspire technical innovation, and mobilise sustainable resources to ensure Africa prospers. I am particularly heartened by the focus on women's and children's health, empowerment, and socio-economic development—a cause that lies at the very heart of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s mission. For too long, women and children have borne the brunt of inequality across Africa, while being denied access to essential and quality healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. Yet, as we gather here, we stand on the cusp of change—a change that begins with each and every one of us. At the core of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’'s initiatives lies a commitment to holistic healthcare, education, and advocacy. Through strategic programming, advocacy and global partnerships, WBFA tackles the root challenges of maternal, newborn and child health while uplifting and empowering communities to build a healthier, brighter future. Beyond policies and programmes, it is our collective will and determination that will truly drive progress. It is the belief that every individual in Africa has inherent worth and potential—that no one should be left behind—that will propel us forward on this journey of empowerment and transformation. As we embark on this summit, I urge each and every one of you to seize this opportunity to be inspired, to learn from one another, and to commit to action. For it is through our joint efforts that we will unveil the hidden drivers shaping tomorrow's Africa—a future defined by hope, resilience, and boundless opportunity. Together, let us empower Africa and unleash its full potential. Thank you.

FROM February 4th, 2024

My sincere condolences to the resilient nation of Namibia as they mourn the loss of President H.E. Dr. Hage G. Geingob, announced by Vice President Nangolo Mbumba, this Sunday morning. During this sad time as we mourn the loss of a greatly beloved and respected African leader, my thoughts and prayers are especially with my dear sister and friend, H.E. Monica Geingos, and their family. President Geingob's lifetime of steadfast dedication to the progress of Namibia, as their first elected leader, longest serving Prime Minister, and a key figure in the development of~ the constitution, has left an enduring legacy of visionary leadership, liberation efforts and unwavering commitment to the betterment of his nation, through an all-of-government egalitarian effort at poverty eradication, leadership transparency, gender equality and economic prosperity resonated not only within Namibia but reverberate across the continent and beyond. May the everlasting impact of President Geingob's impeccable integrity be a guiding light, inspiring generations to come. May the grace of God bestow upon his family and the entire nation of Namibia the collective strength, unity and peace as they navigate this profound loss. H.E. Toyin Saraki Founder & President The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Leadership Council Member: Concordia Summit & AfricaReach

FROM February 1st, 2024

I am delighted to congratulate a dear friend, Dr Dupe Elebute-Odunsi MBBS (Lagos), MD (Lond), FRCP, FRCPath, Co-Founder, Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre, Founder-Chair, Women in Health Care Network Nigeria, and all the Founding Members of WIHCN which was launched yesterday in Lagos. Globally and at home in Nigeria, 70% of the health workforce is powered by our female gender, yet less than 35% of health leadership roles are held by women, thus, I heartfully welcome WIHCN's encouraging vision to #connect, #inform and #inspire women in the healthcare industry in Nigeria to become the best they can be individually, and in the long term, positively impacting the delivery of healthcare in our beloved country. I look forward to WIHCN's future impact in challenging the obstacles of women attaining and succeeding in leadership roles, gender disparity in obtaining financial support for business ventures, and then building focused mentorship programs to encourage the return and retention of our talented younger generation to pursue their health sector careers here at home in Nigeria. Joining the Honourable Coordinating Minister For Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate CON, Dr Salma Ibrahim-Anas, Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr Uju Rochas-Anwukah - Special Assistant on Public Health, Office of the Vice President, Special Guests of Honour, Dr Olajide Idris and Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa OON, Chair, Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, stakeholders and supporters in observing the launch, I extended the best wishes of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa to all WIHCN Members as the network initiates and pursues it's warmly anticipated goals

FROM January 31st, 2024

I started this week by honouring the invitation of CCI France-Nigeria to observe their January Breakfast Meeting discussion: 'A Bird's Eye View Of The Nigerian 2024 Economy'. Joining Laurent Favier, Consul General of France to Nigeria who delivered the welcome address, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman, Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee, learned legal luminary Dr Olisa Agbakogba SAN, Christian Mulamula, Head of Office, International Finance Corporation Nigeria, and many distinguished panellists sharing their viewpoints and experience, I appreciated the enlightening opportunity to engage extended by Alhaji Usman Mohammed, Chairman, Board of Directors, CCI France-Nigeria.

FROM January 30th, 2024

On World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, I echo the World Health Organisation on calling for global and community leaders to unite and act to address the inequalities which drive Neglected tropical diseases, and make sustainable investments to bring health and wellbeing to the estimated 1.62 billion people affected in vulnerable cycles of disease and marginalisation. As World Leprosy Day was observed yesterday, a disease caused by infection with a slow-growing bacterium, which currently occurs in more than 120 countries, with more than 200 000 new cases reported every year, it is a reminder that this #NTD, like all others, is completely preventable, can be easily cured if not neglected, and in many cases, can be fully eliminated from countries. As community trusted caretakers and healthcare providers, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa actively works to raise the awareness, and profile of suffering, on neglected tropical diseases, to garner support towards their control, elimination and eradication, in line with the programmatic targets set out in the World Health Organization NTD Road Map 2021−2030 and the commitments of the 2022 Kigali declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. As The Wellbeing Foundation Africa re-commits to Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases Together Towards 2030, there must be a shift towards accountability, accelerating programmatic action, collaboration and multisectoral action, strengthening country capacity and ownership, and mobilising resources through long-term financing. 📸: Private viewing of the exhibition Reframing Neglect at Cromwell Place in London, hosted by The End Fund and supported by Reaching the Last Mile.

FROM January 25th, 2024

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Davos Delegation was honoured to join Kearney, FemTechnology, and senior executives from established global organisations to support an open letter highlighting the gender inequity in healthcare. Redesigning healthcare with women in mind: an open letter supports the World Economic Forum Global Alliance for Women’s Health, a newly formed community to convene and connect on next steps, in which The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is has submitted commitments to, to prioritise, protect, and promote the health of women and closing the women’s health gap. A huge undertaking, this letter is addressed to all those within the healthcare ecosystem whose innovations have impact and decisions have power: from pharma, biotech, and medtech firms to investors, tech companies, and consumer health players serving women and girls. The parity can only be achieved with the involvement of players across the entire healthcare value chain, and with collaborative support, we hope to make this 2024 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting the start of our journey together toward a new global healthcare system that serves women better. Through shaping the public health agenda with increased advocacy and awareness, overhauling medical education by expanding both national school and higher education curriculums, raising the stakes on research and development by increasing the volume of clinical and policy research trials on women’s health conditions, building women-centric integrated care pathways that are accessible and easy to navigate, covering all patient touchpoints and providing women with more control over their own health, getting serious about data by ensuring gender-specific data sets are collected, accelerating investment by boosting funding for academic research development, we can make the necessary and long overdue change needed. Together, let us Rethink what equitable healthcare means, Resync all stakeholders around this new mission and Regenerate healthcare systems to root equity at their core. From Davos, Switzerland at the 54th Annual World Economic Forum, reported by Zelia Bukhari (Global Health Advocacy and Policy Manager, Global Davos Delegation, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa).

FROM January 24th, 2024

Learning for Lasting Peace On the occasion of the United Nations, UNESCO International Day of Education, I am reflecting on how the foundation of a more peaceful, just, and sustainable society is laid through education, a force which permeates every facet of daily life and opportunity. As climate change, democratic erosion, persistent inequalities and conflict escalate on a global scale, education emerges as a powerful tool to both address these pressing issues and prevent these challenges in the future, as when education is effectively shaped and implemented, it becomes a long-term investment with increasing returns. Therefore, it is imperative to actively reaffirm the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s dedication to the cause of peace throughout Nigeria and Africa, emphasising the pivotal role that education plays in this pursuit. Learning for peace is a transformative process, and through The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Adolescent Skills and Drills Personal Social Health Education-PSHE, WASH Programming which takes place not only in schools but also throughout communities, as according to UNICEF one in every five of the world's out-of-school children is in Nigeria, WBFA enables learners to gain essential knowledge, values, attitudes, skills, and behaviours, thereby empowering them to serve as catalysts and advocates for peace, health and wellbeing in their schools, homes and communities. Today, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa commemorated #EducationDay at schools in Abuja FCT, Kwara and Lagos State, with a specific focus on educating adolescents and teachers to prevent gender-based violence and build social cohesion to combat dropout rates, and absenteeism in schools. While I was First Lady of Kwara State, the Education Sector Support Programme began in 2008, a partnership between the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Kwara State and Nigerian Government, to develop effective planning, financing and delivery systems to improve the quality of schools, teaching and learning, especially in delivering health education services. WBFA continues to utilise the statistics shared to track indicators, as ESSPIN embedded an integrated school improvement programme at scale, building the capacity of state and district staff, teachers, and school-based management committee members to improve education in primary schools across Kwara State. Successfully contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 5, and 6, and the UNESCO Recommendation on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Sustainable Development, and the report of the International Commission on the Futures of Education, the integration of PSHE is instrumental in creating a generation of well-informed and responsible global citizens, especially in the face of uncertainties.  

FROM January 23rd, 2024

A history of collaboration & mutual respect It is an honour and a privilege to extend my felicitations to Her Majesty Queen Mary of Denmark on the ascension of His Majesty King Frederick X to the throne. I have long admired and respected Her Majesty Queen Mary of Denmark’s dedication to her duties on behalf of the Danish monarchy, and her compassionate and impactful advocacy and actions. As Patron of the United Nations Population Fund since 2019, HM Queen Mary assiduously and steadily supports the agency's work to promote maternal health and safer motherhood in more than 150 developing nations. A member of the International Committee of Women Leaders for Mental Health, and as a patron supporting over 30 charitable organisations including the European Regional Office of the World Health Organisation WHO-EMRO, the Danish Refugee Council and Julemærkefonden, she also founded her award-winning social organisation, the Mary Foundation, in 2007. Becoming Her Royal Highness Crown Princess upon her 2004 marriage to then Crown Prince Frederik, Mary was made a Rigsforstander in 2019, which allows her to act as regent when the monarch is abroad. She became the first Australian-born queen consort upon the abdication of her mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe II, on 14 January 2024. HM Queen Mary's unwavering support for maternal health aligns seamlessly with The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s mission to enhance the health and wellbeing of women and children across Nigeria. As champions of impactful and sustainable development, we share the values of compassionate leadership in fostering positive change on a local and global scale, to promote a brighter, healthier, future for all. As I felicitate with the Kingdom of Denmark and my Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Partners, UNFPA, and Maternity Foundation Denmark, I take this opportunity to recognise Denmark's commendable historical standing as the first nation to recognise, regulate and therefore respect and elevate the midwifery profession, and the nation's continued unflinching support for the ICPD25 efforts globally.  

FROM January 19th, 2024

From Davos, Switzerland at the 54th World Economic Forum: The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Delegation was thrilled to join in launching forthcoming research by the McKinsey Health Institute and the World Economic Forum with leaders across the public, private, social, and philanthropic sectors for an action-oriented convening to explore the latest data powering the effort to draw awareness to the women's health gap. The report titled "Closing the Women's Health Gap: A $1 Trillion Opportunity to Improve Lives and Economies," emphasizes that investments addressing the women’s health gap would add years to life and life to years – while potentially boosting the global economy by $1 trillion annually by 2040. When discussing the challenges in women’s health, a common rejoinder is that women, on average, live longer than men. But this neglects the fact that women spend 25% more of their lives in debilitating health. Closing the women's health gap would allow 3.9 billion women to lead healthier, higher-quality lives. The report identifies four primary areas that need addressing to close the health gap: Science, Data, Care Delivery, and Investment, to move forward, the report suggests action on five fronts: investing in women-centric research, strengthening the collection of sex-and gender-specific data, increasing access to women-specific care, creating incentives for investment in women's health innovation, and implementing policies supporting women's health. Closing the women's health gap is a moral imperative, as addressing these gaps would reduce the time women spend in poor health by almost two-thirds, adding an average of seven days of healthy living for each woman annually. Together, we have a chance to lift millions of women out of poverty, improve future generations' health, and foster healthy ageing. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back. Reported by Zelia Bukhari (Global Health Advocacy and Policy Manager, Global Davos Delegation, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa).

 
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FROM January 16th, 2024

As the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum convenes in Davos this week under the theme Rebuilding Trust, I am reflecting on the learnings and dialogue from last year, and how it is crucial now more than ever to focus on the fundamental principles of driving transparency, consistency and accountability in a world of constant transformation. Especially as we take on the agreement from COP28 at Dubai-UAE, it is evident that urgent action is needed to combat the climate crisis, for the health of the planet and its people. Throughout the week, it is vital to collaborate on how to accelerate progress and improve health outcomes, looking at how climate change affects health, how to close the women’s health gap and how digital tools can transform healthcare, especially #AI, all which will be captured in three key reports, anticipated to launch at the end of the World Economic Forum 24. Embracing the youth voice is also essential in repairing trust with the next generation, as we work towards building a healthy world for them to inherit, and scale up life-saving and life-changing investments for adolescents while honouring commitments to tackle inequalities and create future opportunities. Fundamental to the long-term global health strategy are open platforms for dialogue, stronger private-public sector partnerships, agile policy frameworks and effective deployment of innovative technologies that can lead to practical and implementable gains. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Davos Delegation to 54th World Economic Forum, will be aiming to instil a measure of collective agency, as together, we work towards restoring wellbeing and trust at three fundamental levels: into the future, within societies and among nations.

 
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FROM December 12th, 2023

Today, I was honoured to join Nigeria’s National Population Commission Nigeria, and UNFPA Nigeria Partners in commemorating the Fourth Anniversary of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25+4: Accelerating The Promise. In my Stakeholders Goodwill Keynote delivered virtually, and contained in the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Progress Report, I emphasized the pivotal importance and transformative impact of addressing issues of population management and development with particular attention on women, girls and young people. Observing the 4th Anniversary under the theme - “Sexual and Reproductive Health Justice Cannot Wait: All Rights, Women, Girls & Young People, Act Now,” Nigeria has remained committed to realising the three (3) transformative results expressed as Zero Preventable Maternal Death, Zero Unmet Need For Family Planning, and Zero Harmful Practices that are against women and girls, including Gender-Based Violence. The Nairobi Summit, on whose International Steering Committee I serve, created an enduring platform for effective and productive engagements for advancing the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

FROM December 8th, 2023

Championing Climate-Resilient WASH Innovation Ahead of World Climate Day, and as I rounded up my COP28 UAE engagements on Wednesday, I was honoured to share the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's frontline impact and learnings on WASH with DP World at the Climate Challenge Lab, Innovation Zone, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. In my Fireside Chat with Ayla Bajwa, Senior Vice-President of Group Sustainability at DP World, we discussed the escalating frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and how it becomes increasingly important to address the convergence of climate change and WASH, including the role WASH plays in health. I shared a deep dive into the current landscape of climate-resilient WASH best practices, and the innovative strategies, technologies, and policy frameworks, all aimed at empowering communities to adapt and thrive in the face of climate-related adversity, implemented at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. In alignment with the insights shared at the 2023 UN Water Conference, which I attended and spoke at earlier this year with longstanding WASH partners Reckitt, and the corresponding Water Action Agenda, I highlighted the need to enhance the impact of frontline programming which works towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, 6, and 17. Spotlighting the contributions made by funders, the private sector, practitioners, and other stakeholders, I very much valued the experience brought to this important discussion, through the additional panel, moderated by Kevin Holliday, Managing Director, C3, featuring Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, Water Aid UK, Pawan Borle, Co-Founder & International Advisor, Maithri Aquatech and Cheryl Hicks, Senior Advisor, CEO Water Mandate, WASH4Work Global Compact, as we navigate the ever-evolving terrain of climate-resilient WASH, ensuring unwavering access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, even in the face of the challenges posed by our changing world.

FROM December 7th, 2023

Sustainable & Gender Inclusive Trade as An Engine of Economic Growth & Prosperity! On the conclusion of Gender Day and Trade Day COP28 UAE, I was honoured to join the High-Level Reception in the Blue Zone, to explore the critical interplay between trade, gender and climate solutions as drivers for equitable economic development. Hosted by DP World, distinguished leaders such as DP World Group Chairman and CEO, Mr. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Former U.S. Secretary of State, The Hon. Hillary Clinton shared their visionary perspectives centred on a collective commitment to fostering an environment where the flow of trade becomes a catalyst for sustainable change. Trade is the lifeblood for many, including women, young people and entrepreneurs, opening the doors to opportunity and connectivity for all, while fostering resilient and thriving communities. Together, we must prioritise the amplification of diverse voices and inclusive policies to drive tangible change in our pursuit.

FROM December 6th, 2023

Catalysing Gender Equity in Climate Finance: Accelerating Progress at the Intersection of Climate, Gender & Health Taking place in the World Green Economy Organization WGEO Pavilion COP28 UAE Blue Zone, I was honoured to launch the USAID’s Climate Gender Equity Fund (CGEF), with committed founding members Reckitt, Amazon and Visa Foundation. Focused on scaling climate finance that advances gender-responsive climate solutions, I shared programmatic insights on the health gap in the climate and gender nexus, detailing how pivotal health-focused funding is, and calling to action for strategically aligned and interested funders to join the Climate Gender Equity Fund and increase access to finance for gender-responsive climate initiatives. The climate crisis continues to have a disproportionate health impact on women and girls. Research shows that women face more climate-related health issues than their male counterparts, carry additional burdens as primary carers in their households, and often place their needs last.  Women and girls are also uniquely equipped to serve at the frontlines of climate mitigation and adaptation. Research demonstrates that women entrepreneurs are not only more likely to innovate to address social needs, but they also generate more revenue per dollar invested and produce a greater return. Together, we must support the development of climate mitigation and adaptation businesses and solutions by directly funding climate-smart women-led and women-benefiting investments.

FROM December 6th, 2023

I was pleased to join my Wellbeing Foundation Africa partner Reckitt for a roundtable discussion on tackling the spreading vector threat with new research insights from academic ally London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, to converse regarding the choices we need to make as the global policymakers, health workers, and private-sector industry committed to ending the growing threat of vector-borne disease, in our changing climate.   Currently, 80% of the world’s population is at risk of one or more vector-borne diseases as a result of climate change and human behaviour which is multiplying new and more disease organisms, spreading them to new places, and becoming resistant to insecticides, putting many families at risk.    I was thrilled to test new virtual reality technology based on analysis by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, to bring to life the real-world implications of the growing ‘pest threat’ and further inform how we can respond and adapt in the face of climate change, including how we minimise exposure, protect the most vulnerable populations, improve global monitoring and health education, and tackle the human behaviours that are worsening the spread. 

FROM December 5th, 2023

Zero Malaria: Change The Story I was pleased to join Malaria No More UK, African Leaders Malaria Alliance and global health partners at #COP28 for a special pre-dinner reception at Goals House in Dubai which showcased a new campaign film directed by Grammy-award winner Meji Alabi, featuring Zero Malaria Ambassador David Beckham and Kenyan youth climate champion Ellyanne Wanjiku Chlystun Githae, with a special performance from Ugandan super-star children, The Ghetto Kids. With global crises and growing threats, the fight against malaria, one of humankind’s oldest and deadliest diseases, is becoming more challenging. Climate change is making malaria harder to predict and control. Throughout the evening, I joined leaders, such as my longtime ally and sister, Joy Phumaphi to discuss and address malaria’s impact on human health when taking action to tackle climate change, particularly as it takes the life of a child every minute. By sharing the human stories of children who are most impacted and highlighting the importance of creative communications and advocacy in overcoming the devastating impact of climate change on the spread of malaria, we can amplify our efforts to end the disease. 📷: Sam Churchill

FROM December 5th, 2023

COP28 to unite, act, and forge a healthier, more resilient future together! Returning to COP28 in Dubai, for the long-awaited and greatly welcomed first ever Health Day at the UN Climate Change Conference - United Arab Emirates (COP28 UAE), which featured the Climate and Health Ministerial Main Event, and the Reaching the Last Mile Forum! The 2023 Reaching the Last Mile Forum, anchored by the longstanding global health heritage of Chelsea Clinton of the Clinton Global Initiative, and attended by our own Nigerian Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, who presented our national commitments, served as one of the most impactful platforms, delivering concrete commitments in support of effective climate-health action, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Learning and listening to the Health Ministers, it was clear that we are globally committed to ending preventable diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and helping millions of children and adults live healthy, dignified lives, even in the face of climate change. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s long term commitments, focusing on areas where we can have maximum impact and prompt action to foster change, call for active partnership, innovative financing, and the development of new areas for the progress of the climate-health nexus, focused on improving the sustainability of health system infrastructure.

FROM December 5th, 2023

Measurably Improving Health & Wellbeing through the Arts! As the Inaugural Global Health Ambassador of the WHO Foundation, I was honoured to address the high-level private dinner, following the COP28 Health Day Closing, co-hosted by Community Jameel and the WHO Foundation, featuring the partnership launch of the Jameel Arts Health Lab. I joined my dear brother WHO Deputy-General, DrTedros, CEO of WHO Foundation Anil Soni, Co-Director of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab and WHO Arts and Health Lead, Christopher Bailey, Chief of Operations, High-Level Climate Champions, Lisa Larsen, and Director of Community Jameel, George Richards, to amplify and advocate for action at the nexus of wellbeing, climate and relief, recovery and peace. Focused on overlooked and underserved communities, including those who are suffering from the climate crisis, the Jameel Arts & Health Lab aims to coordinate and amplify scientific research into the effectiveness of the arts in improving health and wellbeing. Leveraging data, artist-led advocacy and a global “Healing Arts” campaign, the Lab seeks to drive policy implementation across 193 UN member states. The dinner was graciously hosted by Fady Jameel, Vice Chairman of Community Jameel, who opened his family’s home in Dubai to us, for a celebration of collaboration, innovation, and unwavering commitment to global health, provided a setting conducive to fostering meaningful collaboration and catalysing impactful change across the globe.

FROM December 4th, 2023

Healthy Futures on Health Day at COP28! In welcoming the first ever Health Day, taking place at COP 28 UAE, I was pleased to speak with Bill Anderson, CEO, Bayer, Dr Naveen Rao, SVP Health Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation and Dr Sally Uren, CEO, Forum for the Future on the Beyond 1.5°C: Challenges and Solutions in Protecting Human Health on a Warming Planet Panel, moderated by Claus Runge, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Market Access, Public Affairs & Sustainability at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Bayer AG, hosted in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Pavilion, Blue Zone. Projected rises in average temperature and in frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves will increasingly impact human health. Already today, on a planet still below the 1.5°C warming threshold, health consequences of the steady increase in temperature are devastating, with Africa counting between 12,000 and 19,000 heat-related child deaths per year. The strain heat places on our health carries various implications, as it can create cumulative physiological stress, exacerbating respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, while also deeply impacting women’s health, intensifying heat flashes during menopause or disrupting a woman’s reproduction cycle. It can also erode broader healthcare infrastructure through power outages as well as water scarcity, and similar to other dimensions of climate change, heat affects those most vulnerable, notably pregnant women, the elderly and children, ultimately exacerbating existing inequalities. As we head towards a warming trajectory beyond 1.5°C, our panel discussed how crucial it is to accelerate our efforts in protecting human health, through new approaches and accelerated collective action to data collection, policy implementation and the strengthening of locally-led heat resilient public health systems, encompassing equitable access to medicine, infrastructure and human capital, through a multi-stakeholder and public-private partnerships approach for effective action in heat and health.

FROM December 2nd, 2023

I was proud to join longstanding The Wellbeing Foundation Africa partners, Reckitt on their high-level roundtable to determine the next steps towards building equitable, sustainable, climate-resilient health systems and mobilise vital investment in the sector, held at Goals House, on the margins of COP28 UAE. Climate resilient health systems are the backbone of health equity, yet global health systems are under unprecedented strain. Progress towards health equity has stalled, with one in two people around the world still lacking access to basic healthcare. Coming together with a diverse group of health experts to explore how we can rethink healthcare delivery, I emphasised the need for investment in training more community health workers to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change on the frontlines through behavioural change and climate literacy. Already one in four deaths are attributed to preventable environmental causes, with the World Health Organisation estimating at least 250,000 people will die each year due to climate change. The WorldBank estimates that up to 132 million people will fall into poverty by 2030 due to direct health impacts of climate change, and approximately 1.2 billion people will be displaced by 2050. As we mark the first ever Health Day at COP 28 today, we must be resolute in our determination to address the challenges posed to health by climate change and encourage ambitious investment in the health sector, to foster systems which can withstand the impact of climate change.

FROM December 2nd, 2023

On the occasion of COP 28, I was delighted to join the Reception on Building Partnerships to Deliver Climate Action in Cities, co-hosted by The King’s Foundation and Community Jameel at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. Gathered with leaders working to build a collaborative response to climate action in cities, in the Commonwealth and beyond, the event resonated with inspiring objectives shared by Kris Murrin, CEO of The King’s Foundation, and George Richards, Director of Community Jameel. In conversation with Fady Jameel, Vice Chairman of Community Jameel, we shared our commitments in advancing science and learning for communities to thrive, and the importance of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence, research, outreach, and training. As we navigate the complex landscape of climate action, especially in cities, the exchange of ideas and the momentum created by such alliances are pivotal. I am invigorated by the dedication exhibited by all present, and I am inspired by the potential for impactful collaborations that transcend borders.

FROM December 1st, 2023

It was an honour to be invited by the COP28 UAE Presidency and the Sustainable Markets Initiative to join the reception to open the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum in the presence of His Majesty King Charles III and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Held concurrently with the heads of state-level World Climate Action Summit at the beginning of the two-week COP28 programme, the Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum #BPCF is COP28 UAE’s multi-stakeholder engagement platform for the Private Sector, dedicated to driving cross-sectoral advancements towards achieving net zero and nature-positive goals. This CEO high-level inclusive global gathering unites philanthropists and global business leaders, harnessing their dynamism, practical knowledge, wealth of resources, and capacity for delivering results to expedite climate and nature action. Together, we gathered and discussed the urgency to address our world's pressing climate challenges, while illuminating the crucial role of collaboration between nations, businesses, and philanthropic entities in forging a sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.

FROM November 30th, 2023

During inclusive dialogue at the United Nations General Assembly 78, I was excited to discuss the future of development with my dear friend Matthew Swift, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the Concordia Summit, for The Swift Hour at Concordia 23! As a member of Concordia’s Leadership Council, I appreciated the platform for open dialogue, as we explored crucial topics, discussing global health, sustainable development, and empowering communities, especially through impactful partnerships. As the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties COP 28 begins today, I am especially proud to shed light on the mission of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and its harmonisation with Africa’s foremost concerns, especially in the context of environmental conservation objectives and the intersection of CleanWater, Climate and Health.   Watch the full interview:

FROM November 23rd, 2023

Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, November 23rd & 24th 2023 – The Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare's Ministerial Roundtable on Mental Health marked a pivotal moment in Nigeria's journey toward mental health wellbeing under the theme "Achieving Universal Health Coverage For Mental Health In Nigeria; National Mental Health Act 2021 - from Act to Action." Convened by the Honourable Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, and led by Dr Massey-Ferguson, National Coordinator, National Mental Health Programme, and the esteemed team at the Federal Ministry of Health, the roundtable garnered participation from a diverse array of national and imulti-lateral stakeholders and partners. During this landmark gathering, Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, Founder & President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa reaffirmed in her Goodwill Statement, WBFAs steadfast dedication as a longstanding technical policy, advocacy, and planning partner. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, which has developed and integrated Nigeria's Perinatal Mental Health Checklist within the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Maternal and Child Health MCH Handbook, values the shared commitment to improving access to primary, secondary and tertiary mental health and wellbeing services for all people in Nigeria, through the structured unification of national policy efforts towards achieving universal health coverage for mental health and encouragement of full implementation of the provisions of the National Mental Health Act of 2021. The Ministerial Roundtable witnessed the launch of crucial initiatives including the "National Mental Health Policy" and the "National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework." Additionally, commendation was extended towards the resolution passed at the 64th regular session of the National Council on Health, endorsing the adoption and implementation of the National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework across the 36 States of the Federation and FCT. Acknowledging the invaluable support of global health and development leaders and organisations, including the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General H.E. Amina J Mohammed, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, FIGO Director of Maternal and Neonatal Health Professor Bo Jacobsson, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership Program Director Dr Koki Agarwal of Jhpiego and USAID, and our Technical Working Group comprising representatives from UNICEF, UNFPA, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Johnson & Johnson, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among other policymakers, mental health practitioners, diplomatic community members, and development partners, underscores the collective effort toward Nigeria's pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals 3.4, 3.5, and 3.8. The urgency to revolutionise mental health care in Nigeria was highlighted, as Her Excellency Toyin Saraki remarked "That 1 in 4 Nigerians live with a mental health condition, with only 1 in 10 seeking and receiving adequate care. Robust policy implementation, frontline programming, and extensive awareness campaigns are essential to nurturing a society where mental wellbeing becomes a tangible reality for all.” The Wellbeing Foundation Africa extends its commitment to collaborating with stakeholders and supporting initiatives that advance mental health policies and holistic care practices, to reduce the prevalence of suicide and mental health conditions in the country. Together, with a shared vision, the goal is to pave the way for a mentally healthier Nigeria.

FROM November 17th, 2023

I was honoured to be invited by The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, Secretary-General of The Commonwealth to speak at the Women Leaders Event - A Call for Action: Safeguarding the Wellbeing of Women and Children hosted at Marlborough House, ahead of the upcoming International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, attended by Her Majesty, Queen Camilla. Joining champions such as Lady Dentaa Amoateng, MBE, HE Dr Fatima Maada Bio, First Lady Sierra Leone, HE Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, First Lady The Gambia, HE Maryam Mwinyi, First Lady Zanzibar, HE Linda Rama, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Albania, Sarah Brown, Chair, Theirworld, Jane Randel, Founder NO MORE, Jude Kelly CBE, Founder The WOW Foundation, the event converged women leaders to examine the mental health and well-being of women and children. Erin Kenney, Director, Gender, Diversity, Equity, and Human Rights a.i. World Health Organisation, moderated the panel on Domestic Violence and Mental Health: Impact on Women and Children, including myself, Dr. Nabeel Goheer from PATH, Dr. Stephen Burrell from Durham University, Dr. Sharifa Al Emadi from Doha International Family Institute, and Cleopatra Christie from the Bahamas Crisis Centre. In my remarks I called upon this unique gathering of women leaders to ensure our targets include reaching the primary frontline tiers of universal basic education and universal health coverage, for the most vulnerable. According to WHO, one in four Nigerians, are living with a mental health disorder. I reflected on The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's frontline programmes supporting women and children's mental health, as WBFA midwives and school nurse-visitors, play crucial supporting roles as trusted community members, who witness the societal impact of domestic violence, recognizing it as a pervasive issue. Urgent action is needed to address this societal ill and align to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

FROM November 4th, 2023

I am incredibly honoured to receive the prestigious Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria's Global Health Advocate of the Year Award, at the PSHAN Alliance 2023 Annual Awards and Gala Night, held in Lagos, yesterday. I deeply appreciate this recognition, by the PSHAN Chair, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the Distinguished Jury Members, all the inspirational nominees and award winners, and our national health contributing compatriots across Nigeria. I dedicate this wonderful award to the daily efforts of my amazing The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Teams across our frontlines in Nigeria and beyond, who work daily with unflinching dedication, to bring our advocacy into action, with transformative impact, embodying the decades-long unstintingly sustained charter of the Trustees and Governing Council of the WBFA. At the event dedicated to acknowledging the significant contributions of individuals, organisations, and institutions that have been instrumental in advancing healthcare and improving outcomes in Nigeria, I appreciate The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Lagos State Team for representing us, and I celebrate their nomination for Outstanding Philanthropy Award, which reflects our unwavering commitment to championing access to quality healthcare through #frontline programming across the Nation. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to all the voters who participated, and to PSHAN 2023 for their efforts and vision which align with our mission of creating a healthier and happier Nigeria.

FROM October 31st, 2023

I and the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Teams are thrilled to learn that we have been nominated in two separate categories of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria 2023 Awards! As we enter our 20th year of working for safer births for mothers and newborns, healthy nourished childhoods, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and an upskilled health workforce, it is truly an honour to be recognised as being merited for outstanding contributions of remarkable individuals and organisations in the healthcare sector who have shown exceptional dedication, innovation, and a profound commitment to improving health and wellbeing. I congratulate all distinguished nominees in every category, as we all continue our dedicated contributions to the health and wellbeing of our amazing nation of Nigeria!

FROM October 26th, 2023

It was an honour to celebrate the academic excellence of Prof. Munir’deen Aderemi Ijaiya, a distinguished member of the University of Ilorin's Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. A dear friend to the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, it was a privilege to virtually witness on October 12th, the delivery of his lecture, "The Leaking Pipes as Avoidable Tragedy of Womanhood: The Odyssey of a Fistula Surgeon," during the 243rd Inaugural Lecture at this highly-respected and esteemed academic institution. Resonating perfectly with The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's mission, which is dedicated to enhancing the health and wellbeing of women and children in Africa, particularly focusing on maternal and newborn health, Prof. Ijaiya’s journey as a fistula surgeon sheds light on the challenges and successes in providing essential care and support to women during childbirth. Am exemplary individual whose relentless efforts have a significant impact on maternal and child health, #WBFA has witnessed Prof. Ijaiya's remarkable contributions to the success of our programming based on the vital role of accessible, high-quality healthcare services for pregnant women and newborns through Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit education. He has tirelessly worked to enhance the capacity and capability of healthcare professionals in this region, and under his leadership, the first #WBFA @LSTMNews CMNH EmONC Center of Excellence was established. This effort culminated in the creation of the second Center of Excellence and the first National Center of Excellence at the Kwara State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Ilorin, on May 31, 2022. Additionally, 12 localised clustered skills laboratories were established and donated by the programme at public health facilities across Kwara State. The WBFA takes pride in Professor Ijaiya's contributions to positioning Kwara State as a leading innovator in improving maternal and child survival and reducing birth injuries such as vesico-vaginal fistula #VVF in Nigeria. Kwara State is the first and only state to receive, lead, and successfully complete a whole-state global standard training program in EmONC. Prof. Ijaiya's dedication as a fistula surgeon and his involvement in the development of #EmONC and #NICU programmes have saved numerous lives, alleviated unnecessary suffering, and strengthened the healthcare system. The collaboration between The @WellbeingAfrica Foundation, Prof. Ijaiya, and the #UITH exemplifies the power of partnerships in advancing our shared mission of improving maternal and child health.

FROM October 24th, 2023

Welcoming A Cancer Shield for the People; A Monumental Step to Protect the Future Of 16.6 Million Nigerian Girls! Today on October 24th, Nigeria will embark on a historic journey, initiating a nationwide human papillomavirus HPV vaccination rollout and campaign. This marks a ground-breaking moment and the culmination of decades of dedicated multi-stakeholder advocacy efforts, as the vaccine is integrated into the national routine immunization schedule, and over the next three months, 16 of our 36 states will aim to immunize more than 7.1 million girls. By January 2024, the campaign will sweep across the entire nation, and by the end of 2025, Nigeria's goal is to have vaccinated 16.6 million girls aged nine to 14 against HPV, the virus responsible for nearly all Cervical Cancer cases, and which according to the World Health Organization, more than 10,000 Nigerian women die of each year. This marks the first time that the HPV vaccine will be offered free of charge to the people of Nigeria. Previously, it was only available through private clinics, at a cost of about $65 per dose, almost double the national minimum monthly wage. As all health facilities across Nigeria open their doors, offering the vaccine alongside other immunizations free of charge, as a long-term champion of Women Advocates for Vaccine Access, I have committed the Wellbeing Foundation Africa to promoting the factual dissemination of information which is vital in this endeavour. From educating on the cancer-preventing vaccine, to raising awareness in communities, WBFA is determined to protect our youth and eliminate cervical cancer from our future. 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FROM October 21st, 2023

This week, I was honoured to join Prince's Trust International's Africa Advisory Board and business leaders for a discussion on opportunities for young people in Africa, attended by The Trust’s President and Founder His Majesty The King. Together we discussed the need to bridge the jobs, skills and experience gaps faced by young people in Africa.    

PTIs 2023 Impact Report

[3d-flip-book id="2233" ][/3d-flip-book]

 
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FROM October 12th, 2023

How can improving farmer health and wellbeing enhance resilience? Last Friday, I was honoured to address the third annual OpenAg Symposium: Food Futures in a Changing Climate, held at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Organised and hosted by the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development and Somerville College Oxford, in partnership with UPL Global, one of the leading suppliers of sustainable agriculture products and solutions. With opening remarks by The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, Commonwealth Secretary-General and a keynote address by Helen Browning OBE, the symposium engaged the meaning of resilience across agricultural stakeholders. Joining Dr. Shobhana Nagraj, Post-doctoral Clinical Researcher in the Health Systems Collaborative group at the NDM Centre for Global Health Research, Dr. Kate Lamont, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary & Animal Science at the Centre for Epidemiology & Planetary Health, and Duncan Williamson, Global Strategic Lead for Food Systems at Forum for the Future, our panel specifically focused on enhancing resilience to improve farmer health and wellbeing. Presenting to a diverse group of academia, policy, industry, and NGO leaders in the Rhodes Auditorium, I highlighted the inextricable link between climate change, poverty and health, we considered a whole-systems approach to improve farmer wellbeing, from climate-sensitive health risks, their exposure pathways, and vulnerability factors, to the importance of enhancing the adaptive capacity and resilience of health and agricultural systems.  Looking ahead to COP28 and Health Day, it is vital to explore the context-specific needs and priorities of rural communities, and interventions which will deliver lasting change in agriculture, with an examination of how policy reform can promote resilient, sustainable farming, alongside farmer and societal welfare. I deeply appreciate Mr. Jai Shroff, Chairman & Group CEO of UPL, Mr. Vikram Shroff, Vice-Chairman & Co-CEO of UPL, and Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Principal of Somerville College, for their kind invitation; Farmer health and resilience are the roots of a flourishing future!

FROM October 11th, 2023

Investing In Girls' Rights, Leadership, and Wellbeing! On this International Day of the Girl, I join the global celebration of the rights and empowerment of girls and young women, as #DayOfTheGirl serves as a reminder of the incredible potential that girls hold as change agents, driving progress toward gender equity, opportunity, and equality. In particular, I am thrilled to highlight the significant impact of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Personal Social and Health Education Skills PSHE-WASH programming, which is actively working to close the gender gap within educational settings, with remarkable improvement in girls' participation and successful completion of our PSHE-WASH offerings. The remarkable results of the concluded Phase 1 programming reached the lives of 9,321 children in 96 schools, and I am delighted to share that Phase 2 is set to achieve even greater scale, targeting 248,000 children across 620 schools, aiming to meet the urgent need for increased attention and resources in the critical areas that empower girls to realise their rights and reach their full potential. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's PSHE-WASH programs, generously supported by Reckitt, stand as a testament to our commitment to respond to girls' calls for change. WBFA recognises that it is imperative for the global community to move beyond mere reaffirmations of commitments and invest boldly in the actions required to bring about real change. It is heartening to witness the proactive involvement of many girls who are already championing solutions and driving positive change in their communities. Together with our government and private sector partners, #WBFA envisions a world where girls have the agency to shape government policies and spending, inform the rules and norms by which businesses operate, and direct the priorities for new research and innovations. This vision is not an isolated example but rather the norm we aim to establish. To discover resources that can contribute to improving gender equality and empowering the rise of every woman and girl, we invite you to explore the WBFA's #WGGDT (Women, Girls, and Gender Development Targets) below. Together, let's continue to support and uplift girls everywhere, ensuring they have the opportunities and support needed to make a difference in the world.

Women, Girls, and Gender Development Targets: Making Women a Priority

The Foundation acknowledges the fundamental necessity of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Throughout our multi-layered strategy of research, advocacy, policy development, community engagement, philanthropy and education, we have prioritized women, adolescent girls, and children within our various programs mainly focusing on maternal and infant health, as well as sexual, reproductive, mental, and social health in order to empower and strengthen girls and women from birth to old age.

This policy document is guided by items 1-5 of the Girl Declaration; 1-10 of the G7 Recommendations for Action from the Gender Equality Advisory Council (2019)4; and 2, 3, 4, 7, 9 10 and 11 of the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise.

Through this policy, WBFA commits to the following goals:

  1. Planning and designing with women and girls in mind Use insights directly from women and girls that provide quality, timely and disaggregated data, that prioritises the privacy of citizens and is also inclusive of younger adolescents, to sharpen the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and services. Invest in digital health innovations, including in big data systems, and improvement of data systems to inform policies aimed at achieving sustainable development so that the voices of women and girls are heard in key institutions. Thereby committing to the notion that nothing about young people’s health and wellbeing can be discussed and decided upon without their meaningful involvement and participation (“nothing about us, without us”).
  2. Making women and girls visible, making them count Collect, disaggregate and analyse data in all sectors by age and sex and use it to improve programs, influence policy and track progress. Data helps drive smarter, more strategic and targeted investments. At a minimum, analyse data by sex and five-year age segments (10-14, 15-19) to ensure that no girl is left behind. No data revolution will be complete without this.
  3. Giving women and girls a fair share of the money spent to fix things because they give more back Finance feminist civil society organizations, and allocate dedicated and targeted funding for women and adolescent girls across program and policy budgets. At a minimum, make budget allocations commensurate with women and adolescent girls’ needs and potential to drive positive change.
  4. Think of women and girls now, because now is when they need us most; and now is when it will make the most difference Intentionally focus on adolescence (ages 10-19) and invest early, before girls undergo the physical, emotional and social changes associated with puberty. Design policies and programs to ensure adolescence is a healthy and safe transition to adulthood, not a period in which girls are left out.
  5. Not forgetting women and girls that are poor, distant or too silenced In the quest for scale, it’s easy to overlook the most marginalized – including adolescent girls in emergency, conflict and post-conflict settings even though reaching them can help end the cycle of conflict. Plan for the most marginalized from the beginning to ensure they aren’t left out at the end.
  6. Not holding women and girls back Tackle discriminatory social norms that govern women and adolescent girls’ daily lives and have significant and enduring consequences. Mobilize communities, families, men and boys to support women and adolescent girls.
  7. Advocating for laws that are fair; they should be made to enforce respect and protection for women and girls Ditch gender discriminatory laws and promote progressive ones. Pass laws and ensure accountability to legal policies and frameworks that protect the rights of girls and give them access to justice. At a minimum, governments must meet international obligations and hold those who violate rights of adolescent girls accountable
  8. Drawing on demographic diversity to drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development, by: Investing in inclusive, equitable and quality education for girls and women, employment opportunities, health, including family planning and sexual and reproductive health services, of adolescents and youth, especially girls, so as to fully harness the promises of the demographic dividend.
  9. Ensuring that all women and girls living with disabilities have the right to social, cultural and economic benefits including the right to protection, healthcare, appropriate facilities, education and vocational training and employment
  10. Advocating for the rights of women and girls to live in dignity free from all forms of intimation and gender-based violence By making the fight against gender-based violence a national priority, eliminating online harassment, revenge porn, FGM, and child marriage.
  11. Protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all women and girls Every woman has the right to have access to quality respectful maternity care, antenatal care (ANC) provided by a qualified midwife in a clean and safe health care facility up to eight times during her pregnancy, including the right to information, advice and support provided by qualified professionals to ensure a safe delivery and adequate post-natal care (PNC) for herself and her newborn child including lactation support and counselling after delivery.
  12. Challenging harmful gender stereotypes and norms Stand against gender stereotypes and stereotyping which undermine the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  13. Advocating for the right of every woman to leadership and political participation Promote women's leadership and participation in all sectors, ensuring that women are accorded equal opportunities and support to lead and participate in politics either through elections or by appointments.
  14. Institute equal pay, affordable child care, and paid parental leave Every woman has the right to uphold and demand labour rights including the right to fully paid maternity leave
  15. Stand up for women and gender equality across the world every day Daily commit to advocating for women’s rights nationally, regionally and globally.
  16. Ensuring that every woman and girl has a fundamental human right to access safe, clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (wash) in homes, schools, health facilities and public spaces. Using our programmes, projects and partnerships targeted and the girl child from birth to age – Mamacare 360, ADPSHE, Community-based Adolescent Programme (CoBA) – ensure that women and girls have access to safe, clean water for WASH in homes and public places.
  17. Every child has a right to be registered at birth and the right to individual identity Using our Personal, Maternal and Child Health Record books, WBFA will not relent in its drive to put one in the hands of every mother as a right to individual identity.
 

FROM October 4th, 2023

Congratulations to Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a truly determined young woman, for her visionary commitment to the vital advocacy and action of The Climate Tribe. I spent a truly engaging evening with Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan at the launch of The Climate Tribe, which she has founded as a UAE-based social enterprise dedicated to inspiring climate action through dynamic storytelling, immersive community engagement, and radical collaboration, at Goals House in New York City, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week NYC 2023. Bridging the local and the global, we were joined by industry leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives and climate advocates at the dinner co-hosted by DP World, Global Impact Partner for the initiative. Her Highness shared how The Climate Tribe aims to highlight the journeys and achievements of changemakers, innovators and philanthropists from around the world to galvanise communities in the UAE, while shining a light on the inherent sustainable practices, ecological heritage and natural wonders of the Middle East. Especially ahead of COP28, which is set to take place from 30 November until 12 December 2023, at the Expo City, Dubai, I look forward to witnessing the impact which will stem from The Climate Tribe as we tackle the borderless challenge of climate change and equitable health.

FROM October 3rd, 2023

Yesterday truly marked a great day for health, a great day for scientific advancement and a great day for the cause of vaccines! I am hugely encouraged by the announcement from Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the esteemed World Health Organization - WHO, regarding the recommendation of a second vaccine, named R21/Matrix-M, aimed at preventing malaria in children at risk of contracting this debilitating disease. Given the overwhelming demand for the RTS, S vaccine, the introduction of the R21 vaccine stands as a pivotal addition, enabling us to safeguard a larger number of children at a swifter pace. This, in conjunction with the deployment of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and various environmental interventions, signifies a substantial stride towards realising our vision to End Malaria and inching closer to a world free from the scourge of malaria. During the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78), I also took the opportunity to wish the World Health Organization a productive 75th birthday, as we converged with Dr Tedros, Reckitt and WHO Climate & Health Special Envoy Dr Vanessa B Kerry at the Goals House, working together for The Road to COP28 under the committed leadership of the United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪 H.E. Sultan Al Jaber, towards the First-Ever Health Day: Advancing a Bold Vision For Action, Equity & Accountability. I commend Dr Tedros on the historic UN declaration approved by World Leaders on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response. The United Nations Member States have demonstrated that even at this time of division and polarisation, it’s still possible for countries to come together to agree on a shared response to shared threats. My unwavering commitments to the WHO continue in my role as a Special Adviser to the World Health Organisation Africa Region (WHOAFRO) and in my efforts to champion the endeavours and impact of the WHO Foundation, where I serve as the Inaugural Global Health Ambassador. It is abundantly clear that we have no future but a shared future, and a better future for global health and wellbeing actions!

FROM September 28th, 2023

Ensuring Safer Births for Women and Newborns - Everywhere I was grateful to be the Guest of Honour at the Maternity Foundation Denamark’s high-level reception during the week of United Nations General Assembly 78, celebrating their launch in the United States. Joining my long-time fellow Maternal, Newborn and Child Health advocates and midwife champions, Anna Frellsen, CEO and Dr. Franka Cadée, Director of Global Initiatives, Maternity Foundation, I praised their innovative mobile health solutions, including the Safe Delivery App, which the Wellbeing Foundation Africa midwives are utilizing to access direct and instant evidence-based and up-to-date clinical guidelines, to support their everyday work. Maternal health is a fundamental human rights issue. The launch of Maternity Foundation Inc. in the United States marks a significant milestone, especially in advocating and acting for the care of women of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities - BAME. We cannot rest until every woman, regardless of her background or circumstances, has access to safe and high-quality maternal healthcare. I look forward to further collaborating with the Maternity Foundation, and their digital solutions, and learning programmes, to continue to build midwifery knowledge and skills, and work to end preventable maternal morbidity and harm. “When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life.” - Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

FROM September 26th, 2023

ICPD30: Celebrating Milestones, Inspiring Action at United Nations General Assembly 78  As a member of the ICPD25 International Steering Committee, I was honoured to join UNFPA Leaders at the Ministerial Briefing on #ICPD25 at the UN Headquarters, ahead of the thirtieth anniversary of the ICPD in 2024 ICPD30, to build momentum for the review of implementation on the margins of the 78th High-Level Week of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  Co-hosted by the Governments of Bulgaria and Sweden, and with remarks delivered by Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director, H.E. Mariya Gabriel the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Johan Forssell, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Sweden, and Ms. Diene Keita, UNFPA Deputy Executive Director-Programme, we discussed what is at stake, to explore ways to participate in the review process and mobilise support for the ICPD Agenda, as we must remain ever vigilant against backtracking, and insistent on progress.   Shortly after, the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-up concluded its work by launching a report championing a universal, unifying call for sexual and reproductive justice. ‘Sexual and Reproductive Justice Cannot Wait: All Rights, All People, Acting Now’ published on Friday, is the commission’s final report, urging diverse movements for justice, including those advocating for youth, gender equality and climate, to join forces in driving the changes needed around the world.  Outlining the path forward, to meet the 12 core Nairobi commitments and achieve three transformative zeros: zero unmet need for contraception, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices, we must prioritise the power and safety of the 1.8 billion youth 1point8billion Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, and ensure sustainable investment in Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Services. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa believes that when adolescents successfully transition into adulthood healthily, it broadens the range of opportunities for their future, and their communities. Together, we must ensure they realise their rights and choices.

FROM September 25th, 2023

Embracing the Power of Youth and Unity at the 78th United Nations General Assembly! It has been an incredible experience at the 78th United Nations General Assembly, where aside from the high-level meetings with dignitaries, I also had the privilege of meeting, listening to, and connecting with numerous remarkable youth from Nigeria and across our beautiful continent of Africa. The energy, passion, and determination of these young individuals have left an indelible mark on my heart and ignited a renewed sense of purpose. During our interactions, we discussed a myriad of pressing global issues, ranging from sustainable development goals to gender equality, healthcare access, climate change, and much more. Their depth of understanding and unwavering dedication to these causes are nothing short of inspiring. Their voices are not just heard, they resonate with clarity and conviction, echoing the aspirations of a brighter, more equitable future for all. One of the most humbling yet heartening aspects of our encounters was how these young leaders recounted how they had drawn spontaneous inspiration from the work of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. Today the world has 1.8 billion youth aged 10 - 24, more young people than at any time in history, who will need improved Policies and investments to meet their needs; a key focal theme of the WHO PMNCH 1.8 Billion Young People For Change Campaign asking young people what they want for their health and wellbeing, and building demand for decision makers to transform their answers into policies, investments and actions from world leaders. I look forward to continuing to foster these connections, nurture their ambitions, and encourage the support and resources to bring their visions to fruition.

FROM September 24th, 2023

Fostering Community Wellbeing: Learning from Qatar's Healthcare Excellence I was honoured to reconnect with a very dear sister, mentor and ally, Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health of Qatar, at the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the @UnitedNations in New York. Dr. Hanan's exceptional leadership, both in the Ministry of Public Health Qatar and as Chair of the World Health Organization - WHO Executive Board, has been significantly instrumental in advancing global health. Qatar has set a remarkable example in building a world-class healthcare system, and I am deeply impressed by their commitment to quality and excellence for all. Their investment in healthcare worker's training and their dedication to creating a nation of wellbeing is truly commendable. As we continue our mission at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa to improve healthcare in Nigeria and beyond, there is much we can learn from Qatar's incredible achievements. We look forward to exploring opportunities for collaboration and replenishing knowledge exchange to enhance the standard of care and enhance the standard of living for our communities. Thank you, Dr. Hanan, for your inspiring work and for paving the way for healthier futures.

FROM September 24th, 2023

Unlocking Hope: Advancing Universal Health Coverage with a Focus on Breast Cancer Collaboration in Africa I was pleased to join the Business Council for International Understanding #BCIU in partnership with Roche, as a roundtable participant in support of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage on the margins of the Seventy-Eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. “Women-Centered Care: Combating the Breast Cancer Burden in Africa (Investment in Noncommunicable diseases – Universal Health Coverage)”, featured 30 stakeholders from multilateral organisations, development groups, civil society, NGOs, and global governments, focused on how to further advance the Non-Communicable Diseases Presidential Group’s vision and how the resolutions made by Heads of State at the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage can approach breast cancer initiatives as credible demonstrations of Noncommunicable diseases integration into Universal health coverage. In discussions with Roche, International Finance Corporation and World Bank Group, we recognised our joint vision of expanding coverage and affordability of quality health services throughout Africa, with public-private partnerships and health financing strategies aimed at strengthening healthcare worker's training and timely screening and care for breast cancer, combating the statistic that in Africa, 1 in 2 women die five years after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is committed to driving the learnings highlighted in our 2018 ground-breaking WBFA, Amref Health Africa and Takeda Oncology ‘Rapid Assessment of the Prevention and Control of Cancer in Nigeria’ report, the first independent national research on cancer provisions in the country, which found that Nigeria has a severe shortage of health personnel for cancer care, a dearth of specialists in particular in rural communities and a lack of a well-coordinated chain of supply of drugs and the requisite infrastructure. Together, we hope to improve the standard of care through the broader context of women’s health, as it has the potential to improve survival rates to 80%-90%, and accelerate progress to Universal health coverage.

FROM September 23rd, 2023

Impactful and Sustainable Investment in Africa to Achieve the 2030 Agenda! I appreciate the Milken Institute and African Philanthropy Forum's invitation to address influential philanthropists, funders, and foundations, fostering dialogue and cooperation to make a tangible impact on the world's most pressing issues. "The Unique Role of Philanthropy in Tackling the SDGs," delved into the immense potential of philanthropy in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The session explored how initiatives at the nexus of health, education, socio-economic empowerment, and community livelihoods, as well as partnerships and systemic thinking, can contribute to achieving these goals. In sharing my frontline insight on growing The Wellbeing Foundation Africa from a passion-borne initiative to a structured glocal institution, I espouse my views that philanthropy is uniquely suited to address deeply entrenched global challenges while partnership networks and collaboration in the philanthropic space are essential components of a shared journey towards a sustainable future. Recognising that the future of our world lies in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the birth rates are the highest across the globe, I found a like-mind in the hugely visionary Milken Institute Chairman, Mr Michael Milken, who also emphasised that to create transformative philanthropic impact, Africa must be included, during his address at this welcomed the African Philanthropy Forum and Milken institute event hosted on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly 78.

FROM September 22nd, 2023

Unlocking Global Prosperity: A Call to Action for Sustainable Supply Chains Good Trade Summit 2023 I was honoured to address the Good Trade Summit 2023 hosted by the Business Council for International Understanding and International Trade Centre, where global cooperation, sustainability, and policy's role in shaping sustainable supply chains took centre stage. Achieving Sustainable Development Goals, especially in health action, demands global cooperation and private-sector engagement. This is crucial in Nigeria, where sustainable supply chains impact livelihoods and economic development. International Trade Centre's 'Unified Strength, Collective Impact' is a catalyst for positive change, promoting empowerment, collaboration, and digital transparency across global value chains. Empowering businesses to drive the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, amplifying small businesses' voices, and encouraging women and youth innovation to contribute to value chains are key steps, with the government and the private sector supporting through microfinancing, mentorship, and sponsorship, fuelling economic growth SDG8.

FROM September 22nd, 2023

Transformational Action in Water During United Nations General Assembly 78 and the United Nations Climate Week. I was thrilled to be a panellist on Transformational Action in Water, hosted by Reckitt at Goals House, alongside Water Action Global Leaders, Henk Ovink, Former Dutch Special Envoy on Water, Matt Damon, Co-Founder Water.org & Water Equity, Vedika Bhandarkar, COO, Water.org, Joel Kolker, Water and Finance Lead, World Bank, and moderated by my dear friend and #WASH partner, Patty O’Hayer, Global Head Communications & Government Affairs at Reckitt. I shared evidenced knowledge and evaluated learnings from the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest programme which is leading our Clean Naija commitments to teaching proper handwash hygiene habits and reducing open defecation, sepsis, trachoma and diarrheal disease burdens across schools, households and health care facilities for the betterment of communities. Through transformative action, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest goes beyond the basics, encompassing the creation of a holistic ecosystem that promotes health, hygiene, and intergenerational development through our Sanitation Angels in schools, hospitals and communities. I particularly appreciated the opportunity to collaborate in knowledge sharing with this gathering of minds from the public, private, and third sectors, all dedicated to fostering collaboration in the water sector; indeed a testament which will further our Nigeria activation of shared commitments to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 3 and ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all.

FROM September 22nd, 2023

Business Fights Poverty: Catalysing Female Entrepreneurship I was honoured to serve as Moderator for the WiNFUND NFT Catalysing Female Entrepreneurship, taking place at this year’s Business Fight Poverty Global Goals Summit, a critical gathering focused on re-energising business partnerships for a more equitable and resilient future. The inspiring opening remarks from Zahid Torres Rehman, CEO, Business Fights Poverty, and insightful contributions of Patty O'Hayer, Global Head Government Affairs & Co-Founder of WiNFund, Reckitt, Corinne Hart, Senior Gender Advisor and Team Lead, Energy, Environment and Climate, USAID, Corinne Momal-Vanian, Executive Director, Kofi Annan Foundation, Pradeep Kakkattill, Founder, HIEX and Co-Founder, WiNFUND served to powerfully validate the importance of economically empowering gender-centred investments towards Sustainable Development Goals 5, 8, 10 and 17. Joined virtually by the pioneer cohort of WiNFUND Entrepreneur Winners, Dr. Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, CEO & Co-Founder, Chil Femtech Center Inc, Belinda Shaw, Chair & Founder, Cape Biologix, Adeola Ayoola, CEO & Co-Founder, Famasi Africa, Dr. Mercy Ashaba, CEO & Co-Founder, Peleyta Health, Judith Oketch, CEO & Founder, Ambulex Solutions Ltd, and Olivia Koburongo, Director Quality & Operations, MamaOpe Medicals, the session was a remarkable moment and platform to hear directly from those at the forefront of the innovation ecosystem, and share valuable insights in scaling women-led innovators for planetary, societal, and economic impact. At this one year milestone since the WiN Fund's launch at the United Nations General Assembly 2022, it's hugely encouraging that the WiNFUND has received over 300 applications from 7 countries across Africa, and it was a great pleasure to congratulate its six African female entrepreneurs who are making groundbreaking strides with their innovative start-ups, saving lives in their communities and beyond. In the shared belief in the power of collaboration to fight poverty, drive equity and build resilience, the Business Fights Poverty 2023 Global Summit was hosted on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly 78 at the New York headquarters of Barclays Bank.

FROM September 21st, 2023

Goalkeepers Accelerating Progress Towards SDG’s Agenda 2030 Ahead of the Goalkeepers events on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, it was a pleasure to unite with longstanding allies, our Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global colleagues during our thoughtful bilateral meeting with Dr. Rasa Izadnegahdar, who leads the Maternal, Newborn, Child Health Discovery and Tools portfolio within the Gender Equality Division, and Dr. Sanjana Bhardwaj, who leads Policy and Advocacy work related to family planning, maternal, newborn, and child health, nutrition, and primary health care systems. With decades of collaboratively impactful programming implemented through BMGF support, most notably the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and partners Alive and Thrive Maternal Infant and Young Child Feeding project in Lagos and Kaduna States, and because further progress is possible, but not inevitable, I commend and appreciate the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's strategy of continued investment in building capacity of frontline midwifery and nursing, to deliver health and wellbeing Sustainable Development Goal 3. Currently, across the world, approximately 800 women a day still die in childbirth. This means that the day a woman gives birth is the day she is most likely to die. I was inspired at the opening of Goalkeepers 2030, by all the winners of the Goalkeepers Global Goals Campaign Award, and the highlighting of new innovations that can save nearly 2 million more mothers and babies by 2030. Goalkeepers is dedicated to accelerating progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030, through using powerful stories and data. Through driven partnership, we can aim to create a better 2030, by the numbers.

FROM September 20th, 2023

Genuine and Trusted Thought Leadership at the Annual Concordia Summit 2023 As a Concordia Summit Leadership Council Member, I was honoured to join council members and welcome our newest member, H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Arab Gulf Programme for Development. Alongside H.E. Madame Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia, Cherie Blair CBE, KC, Former UK First Lady and Co-Founder & Chair of Omnia Strategy LLP, H.E. José Barroso, Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and other incredible members comprised of former heads of state, leaders of industry, and policy experts, we contribute our practical experience at every level of government and business. Offering strategic guidance in expanding the Concordia community, and advising programming, ahead of the opening of Concordia Summit 2023 on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly 78, I look forward to the continuing impactful programming and growth of this trusted convening.

FROM September 20th, 2023

I was deeply privileged to join the Solve MIT Challenge Finals 2023 as the opening panellist on a day of unparalleled live pitches, bringing together global investors, philanthropists and other cross-sector leaders who are making transformational impacts across the world, on the margins of UN General Assembly 78. Having been an MIT Solve Challenge Judge for several years, I commended this program for unearthing the best solutions to specific, actionable challenges, through open innovation, and convening a community of change-makers, as I conversed with Cythia Barnhart, Provost, MIT, Sarah Chandler, VP of Environment & Supply Chain Innovation, Apple, Ilan Goldfajn, President, IDB, Hala Hanna, Executive Director, Solve, Moderator Lysa John, Secretary-General, CIVICUS, Johanna Mair, Academic Editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Neela Montgomery, Board Partner, Greycroft, Emilian Popa, CEO, Ilara Health 2 solve.mit.edu, and David Sengeh, Chief Minister, Sierra Leone, to support the best possible solutions in health, sustainability, learning, and economic prosperity. A rise in technology-enabled and locally-led solutions is critical for progress on development, the health and climate crisis, and a better future for all.

FROM September 19th, 2023

The Global Goal of Equitable and Inclusive Quality Education for Every Child and Young Person by 2030 I was delighted to join supporters of global education at the TheirWorld and Global Business Coalition for Education dinner, hosted by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Global Education, WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing and Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sarah Brown, Chair of Theirworld, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and Roger Federer, Founder and President of the Board Roger Federer Foundation, to mark the United Nations 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit and the halfway point to achieving SDG 4 on the occasion of United Nations General Assembly 78. It was essential to discuss ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of future generations, through ensuring all young people have the best start in life, a safe place to learn, and skills for the future. Joined by Her Excellency Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, MP, Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, United Kingdom and other esteemed global leaders, it is with unwavering dedication and collaboration, we can achieve #SDG4 and provide boundless equitably for our children through learning.

FROM September 19th, 2023

Yesterday I joined the Representatives of H.E. William Ruto, President of Kenya and H.E. Alain Berset, President of Switzerland, H.E. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Roger Federer, former Professional Tennis Player and Founder and Board President of the Roger Federer Foundation, Ms. Laura Frigenti, CEO, GPE, Ms. Catherine Russell, ED, UNICEF and Ms. Temilade Salami, The Global Partnership for Education Youth Leader, in addressing the Investing in Education Systems for Sustainable Development and Children’s Wellbeing panel, a high-Level event at the UN Headquarters during United Nations General Assembly 78 co-hosted by The Global Partnership for Education, The Roger Federer Foundation, The Government of Kenya, UNICEF and co-sponsored by the Government of Switzerland. Coming together with global influencers and champions from UN Member States, other UN multilateral bodies, civil society, foundations, and youth movements, we discussed the need to increase political will to drive progress towards #SDG4 through crucial investments in education systems and collaborative efforts across sectors and stakeholders. Thank you to Global Partnership for Education and UNICEF for Education, for this timely platform to discuss how investing in children’s wellbeing through education is an equalizer and the way forward to transform society through attaining all other United Nations.

FROM September 18th, 2023

I have commenced engagements at the 78th United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week alongside The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Global Delegation, informed and inspired by this year's United Nations General Assembly 2023 theme, rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity. During the Sustainable Development Goal Action Weekend at UN headquarters, I was pleased to be accompanied by data partners Hologic as I participated in the UN Women 2023 Generation Equality Midpoint event, to encourage the mobilisation of sustained attention to, and investment in, gender equality. In light of the concerning stagnation and regression observed in over 30% of the SDG targets, it becomes imperative that we forge partnerships with a wide array of stakeholders, including government entities, civil society organisations, youth associations, philanthropic foundations, and the private sector, as this shared responsibility is pivotal to our collective progress.

FROM August 21st, 2023

As we convene this week for World Water Week 2023 in Stockholm and virtually, the theme "Seeds of Change" aptly encapsulates the innovative solutions sprouting on the horizon of water conservation and management. In the face of mounting water scarcity and the challenges posed by climate change, the world has increasingly recognized the urgency of safeguarding our most precious resource - water. I recall the journey towards a water-wise world, in particular when I engaged in 2019 with the Stockholm International Water Institute, discussing the challenges that frontline health workers face without access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and pledged through the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, to their water commitments, which laid the groundwork for activating the intersects between climate and health for our foundational transformative water, sanitation and hygiene change programming. In the years since World Water Week 2019, remarkable strides have been made, propelled by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's WASH For Wellbeing Strategy, frontline programming, global advocacy efforts, and the evolution of water policies and commitments at the national level, exemplified by Nigeria's approach of emphasising sanitation, through the Federal Government’s 2018 Clean Naija Initiative supported by multi-sector CSR and CSO partners, and the highly welcomed Presidential decision to revise the nomenclature and responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to integrate and activate - “and Sanitation”. The 2019 Stockholm International Water Institute commitments, and collective action since, through promotion of the United Nations and World Health Organization Resolution 64/292 which recognises the human right to water and sanitation, and acknowledges that clean water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of equitable human health, marked a turning point in addressing global water challenges. These commitments highlighted the necessity of collective action and innovation to ensure water security for all. The global community acknowledged the need to explore innovative solutions that extend beyond traditional water management methods. This paved the way for a wave of initiatives, collaborations, and policies aimed at nurturing a sustainable relationship with water. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has since actualised its commitments, emerging as a premier thematic non-state grassroots and on the ground implementer of #WASH and wellbeing. The foundation's comprehensive approach through the Primary and Adolescent PSHE WASH and WBFA Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest programming, combining education, community engagement, and sustainable infrastructure, has led to tangible impact in water access and hygiene practices for over 43,194 mothers, schoolchildren and community members in 96 schools and 96 communities and a further 35 health care facilities with a clustered saturation model of beneficial change. By empowering local communities to become stewards of their water resources, WBFA’s innovative practice sows the seeds of change at the fundamental level. Characterised by our proliferation of escalating impactful water, sanitation and hygiene education, and integrating the reduction of open defecation and fighting malaria through control of vector borne transmission through improved sanitation management of drainage water resources, the holistic elevation of communal wellbeing drives positive behavioural and social change intergenerationally, and works towards achieving key targets, highlighting the tangible outcomes of this dynamic cross-sector seeds for action now, towards the 2030 goals, specifically Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, and Goal 6: ensure access to water and sanitation for all. Nigeria's journey towards water resilience from the 2018 declaration of a State Of Emergency in water, sanitation and hygiene, to the 2023 focus on water resources for effective sanitation, demonstrates the transformative power of national policies. Recognizing the interplay between water, health, and development, Nigeria has now set its feet and hands on the path and pipes of pursuing practical and innovative approaches to water management, especially through the inclusion of sanitation. By integrating traditional and cultural understanding, with modern innovation, the nation can pave the way for sustainable agricultural practices, efficient water distribution, and resilient infrastructure in hygiene. As we gather for World Water Week 2023, the theme "Seeds of Change'' serves as a reminder that innovation is the cornerstone of a water-wise and water-secure world. Through dynamic and groundbreaking solutions, sharing success stories, and fostering collaboration, we can ensure discussions surrounding precision agriculture and water-saving technologies to nature-based solutions and policy innovations, take place holistically, and lead to flourishing measures including the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals across sectors and borders. Through cultivating these seeds of change, we continue to collaborate, innovate, and invest in a water-secure world for ourselves and generations yet to come. The path to water resilience is illuminated by our shared commitment to change - one drop, one innovation, and one policy at a time.

FROM August 10th, 2023

As the High-Level Political Forum took place last month under the auspices of the UnitedNations ECOSOC, to which The Wellbeing Foundation Africa holds Special Consultative Status, the theme of accelerating recovery and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda continues to resonate as we look ahead to United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 2023. With only seven years remaining to effect transformative change, the recently released Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023: Special Edition provides a powerful call to action, presenting a candid assessment based on the latest data. Collaboration and accountability are critical among Member States, political leaders, public institutions, and stakeholders as we navigate innovative regulatory measures that align private sector governance models with the SDGs to serve as catalysts for substantial action during the pivotal moments of the upcoming 2023 SDG Summit scheduled for this September.   [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="https://toyinsaraki.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/y2mate.is-The-SDG-Report-2023-Special-Edition-zF361a019zA-1080pp-1691667667.mp4"][/video] Overview Video - The Sustainable Development Report 2023: Special Edition   While the report highlights existing gaps and urges the world to redouble its efforts, I am pleased that it also emphasises the potential for success through the utilisation of technologies, resources, and knowledge. According to the report, global child mortality rates show a significant decline, as between 2015 and 2021, the global under-5 mortality rate fell by 12%, and the global neonatal mortality rate fell by about 10%. While child mortality has declined in all regions, sub-Saharan Africa continues to face the highest rates, with 1 child in 14 dying before reaching age 5. To achieve the target by 2030, progress needs to accelerate in 54 countries, nearly 75% of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is channelling efforts to leave a lasting health and wellbeing legacy which achieves SDG 3 through on-the-ground interventions and programming focused on reducing maternal and child mortality, ensuring access to essential healthcare services, promoting safe birthing practices, and providing capacity-building programs for midwives, nurses, and healthcare workers while advocating for leading Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) policies. Together, the global community can reignite progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and create a brighter future for all.  

FROM August 2nd, 2023

World Breastfeeding Week: Empowering Mothers To Embrace Zero Water For Early And Exclusive Breastfeeding Bridges WASH for Optimal Health! As the Wellbeing Foundation Africa celebrates World Breastfeeding Week across our frontline program locations this week, I am hugely encouraged by the uptick of national awareness, actions and year-round engagement since the WBFA and Federal Ministry of Health Core CSO Partners allied to launch our #MaternalMonday Baby Friendly Initiatives in 2011 - We all still agree that the 10 Steps To Successful Breastfeeding start with washing hands! Yesterday's WBW2023 Launch Activities at the WBFA started at Abuja in supporting the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria policy reinforcement kick-off to enable working parents to succeed in our joint Zero Water early and exclusive breastfeeding campaigns, originally implemented and through the Alive And Thrive Partners - FHI360, Unicef, Save The Children and The Wellbeing Foundation Africa. The WBFA Endowed Mamacare Antenatal, Postnatal Education, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Programming, continue building a community of best lactation practices across Nigeria, at scale. To support working parents in their efforts to breastfeed exclusively and successfully, paid parental leave (including maternity and paternity leave) is essential. This allows for equitable distribution of childcare and domestic responsibilities, reducing the gender gap. It is important to take collective action to improve working conditions and provide relevant support for breastfeeding. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, in partnership with Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest, is taking bold frontline action to transform health facilities into safe and hygienic havens for mothers through our dedicated team of #SanitationAngels. Our WBFA Midwives are interlocutors and lactation counsellors who emphasise and teach on maternal health and hygiene, establishing the understanding and importance of a clean environment. By promoting, teaching and delivering key knowledge and #WASH for wellbeing best practices, we not only empower mothers but also safeguard the health of future generations, by reducing the risk of waterborne diseases and preventing the spread of infections and transmission of germs that could compromise the health of breastfeeding mothers and their infants. Ensuring that every healthcare facility, household and community can support mothers to embrace the precious journey and power of breastfeeding to nurture, nourish their newborns to thrive essentially requires a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, and unity in addressing environmental management of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.

FROM July 31st, 2023

Keeping Promises, Accomplishing Change - Milestone Moments in Women Delivering Maternal Health On Maternal Monday today, I recall marking the 20th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative in 2007. History was made as the 1st Women Deliver Conference began in London that October, bringing together nearly 2,000 advocates, researchers, policymakers, and global leaders from 115 countries to assess progress in preventing maternal deaths and promoting child survival. The conference, with its theme of "Keeping Promises, Accomplishing Change," garnered attention globally and showcased the determination of individuals and nations to tackle the pressing issues of maternal health. With strong support from world leaders, including the British Prime Minister at the time, The Right Honourable Gordon Brown HonFRSE, who emphasised the significance of investing in women as the most productive strategy for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Women Deliver cemented the core strategies for improving maternal health, and reframed it as a basic human right and an integral strategy for achieving just development, reducing poverty, and ensuring environmental sustainability.                 The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's decades of work from the United Nations MDGs to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), celebrated last week's 6th Women Deliver Conference, and the first in Africa, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, which exemplified transforming promises into action. With advocacy efforts intensified, the political will to address maternal health is growing stronger while also addressing a broader range of women's issues, such as family planning, reproductive rights, and gender-based violence. Women Deliver 2023 was instrumental in sparking dialogues and driving meaningful change by engaging policymakers, grassroots organisations, and communities. Tangentially, the United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment, which took place in Rome, Italy, at the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) premises, highlighted the critical importance of nutrition for women, and its pivotal role in creating sustainable and resilient food systems, unlocking a cascade of positive impacts, from enhancing maternal health to empowering communities and driving economic growth. A testament to the power of collective action towards a world where women's rights are upheld, and gender equality is the norm, we move into the future and inspire new generations of leaders, carrying the spirit of Women Deliver with us, continuing to keep promises and actively accomplishing change, until every woman's voice is heard, and every woman's rights are respected.

FROM July 27th, 2023

As The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest Partnership celebrate the success and impact of programming generously supported by the dedication of the global hygiene brand Reckitt commitments to the #CleanNaija Initiative, I am delighted to share our results! The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has completed the first phase of WASH programming across schools, communities, and healthcare facilities. We have witnessed how access to soap, clean water, proper sanitation facilities, and adequate hygiene practices are essential components of human dignity and the cornerstones of healthier and more prosperous societies. Since the launch of the programme in August 2022 in Abuja, Lagos, and Kwara States, our team has made significant progress in reaching out to the target population. We have successfully engaged with 96 schools, 36 healthcare facilities and 96 communities. The impact of our efforts has been remarkable, surpassing initial expectations. We have reached 9,321 students, over 101% of the set target, connected with 25,835 pregnant and lactating mothers, over 103% of the target, and our engagement with community members has been substantial, with a total of 8,128 individuals reached, exceeding the target to 115%.  These achievements underscore the effectiveness and commitment of our team in promoting education, healthcare, and community development, while engaging with stakeholders and policymakers to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.   The work continues until the shared vision of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Dettol Nigeria and Reckitt, is a reality, creating a Nigeria where water, sanitation, and hygiene are not privileges but fundamental rights accessible to all, as clean hands save lives. 

FROM July 13th, 2023

Yesterday on Malala Day, we marked a significant milestone in the journey towards addressing girls' education. It has been exactly ten years since Malala Yousafzai, on her 16th birthday, took to the podium before the United Nations on 12 July 2013, with an unwavering determination and a voice which resonated globally, calling upon world leaders to take action and safeguard the freedom of girls to pursue education, a right for which she had nearly lost her life just a year prior. During Malala's 3rd visit to Nigeria, her words echoed with the same courage and power as she addressed a gathering of champions, young advocates, and esteemed civil society elders in Abuja at the UN House. The impact of her passionate advocacy, coupled with the tangible efforts and actions of the Malala Fund, remains evident in the lives of countless girls who have benefited from their mission of implementing and protecting every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, and quality education. It was an absolute honour and privilege to collaborate and participate in the momentous event themed "Addressing a Decade of Work for Girls' Education" as we gathered intergenerationally to reaffirm our support for the Malala Fund and our collective commitment to upholding the United Nations' steadfast dedication to girls' education in Nigeria. Let us remember that education is not merely a privilege, but an essential human right. It is the key that unlocks the boundless potential within every girl, regardless of her circumstances. Investing in her education is an investment in a flourishing society, where girls are empowered to overcome adversity, shatter glass ceilings, and be the next generation of leaders. May the legacy of Malala's remarkable journey inspire us all to persevere, innovate, and advocate tirelessly for girls' education. Together, let us ensure that the transformative power of education reaches every corner of Nigeria, lighting the path toward a future where every girl can thrive and contribute to a more prosperous Africa.

FROM June 26th, 2023

Pregnancy is a time of immense physical and emotional change, with heightened vulnerability, and as the rise in opioid abuse increases worldwide, it is necessary to address the growing concern of substance abuse amongst pregnant women, often intertwined with mental health challenges.  The intersection of substance abuse and mental health in pregnancy presents unique barriers which require a comprehensive understanding and compassionate approach. In the Position Paper - The Rise in Opioids Abuse, I explore the complexity of addiction, stress and pregnancy, highlighting the importance of frontline holistic wellbeing programming, based in the framework and research by the @WHO Guide for Integration of Perinatal Mental Health in Maternal and Child Health Services, @UnitedNations #UNODC Integrated Opioid Strategy, and @The_Lancet_ Public Health Opioid Overdose Crisis: Time for a Radical Rethink to achieve #SDG3: Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-Being for All at All Ages.  By understanding and researching, the @WellbeingAfrica Foundation can further implement integrated care models, promoting community outreach and education, fostering collaboration, and investing in training; creating a supportive environment where pregnant women receive the quality and respectful care they need for a physically and mentally healthy pregnancy and a brighter future for their children.  The destigmatisation and raising of awareness allows healthcare providers, policymakers, and society at large to work together to create a conducive environment where pregnant women in need are treated and protected. You can learn more by reading The Rise in Opioids Abuse below: The Rise in Opioids Abuse Paper

FROM June 22nd, 2023

8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices Last week at Abuja, Nigeria, I was delighted to be represented by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Senior Leads, at the launch of the UNFPA State of World Population Report 2023, led by UNFPA Nigeria in collaboration with the National Population Commission, and with the Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, UN Nigeria agencies, and partners from the diplomatic, humanitarian, and development sectors in attendance. As leading advocates of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being and SDG 5 Gender Equality, guided by the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25, WBFA shared our continued commitment to unlocking the infinite possibilities within each of the 8 billion lives on this planet, through their programming which focuses on prioritising maternal, newborn and child health, providing comprehensive access to health services, education and support, empowering generations to achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. This landmark report at the milestone of 8 billion explores how the understanding of global population trends impacts sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, and calls on the reframing of narratives surrounding population growth, urging global leaders to consider women's rights and their ability to freely make their own reproductive choices. Together, to ensure a resilient and equitable future, universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, and policies that center genderequality are necessary, to uphold the human rights of all people and make certain no one is left behind. 📸: With Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director, 2023 UN_Water Conference

FROM June 20th, 2023

Hope Away From Home - A World Where Refugees Are Always Included! Today on World Refugee Day, we honour people who have been forced to flee, and champion their right to seek safety, build support for their economic and social inclusion, and advocate for solutions to their challenges.  The refugee situation continues to be a persistent difficulty on the African continent due to complex factors. In Nigeria, insurgency and conflict have created over 3.1 million internally displaced persons forced to flee their homes in the North-East, with Nigeria also being home to over 85,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from neighbouring countries.  When refugee women are forced to flee, they are often separated from their community network of family and friends. This foundation of support is vital to many women during pregnancy and childbirth, but displaced women often feel isolated. Globally, 41% of all those #ForcedToFlee are children, and since 2018, over 1.9 million children have been born as refugees.  In a key expansion of our longstanding disaster response and relief efforts, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa #midwives, in partnership with UNHCR Nigeria, began providing our continuous weekly #Mamacare360 antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal classes for women, mothers, their children and families at the Adagom Refugee Settlement in Cross River State in 2021, not only keeping people healthy, but also offering kindness, education and empowerment during a time of uncertainty. The skills and compassion of the #WBFA midwives are critical in #IDP Camps especially, fostering inclusion, and hope away from home.  In activation of our UNHCR Partnerships Africa 36 Million Solutions: Africa Private Sector commitments, and aligned with the UNHCR's mission to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of all, WBFA stands #WithRefugees, as they have the right of protection from what they fear, deserve opportunities to rebuild their lives and must be given respect for their courage. #WorldRefugeeDay

FROM June 16th, 2023

I am delighted to congratulate a truly dedicated Health Champion, Dr Salma Ibrahim Anas, on the announcement of her appointment as Special Adviser on Health to His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR! Dr Salma’s appointment as the President's first choice in the health sector is a clear indication of the trust and confidence placed in her abilities, reflecting the recognition of her expertise and the significant contributions made to the healthcare system in Nigeria. Indeed, this opportunity to serve the Nation, and humanity, is a well merited upliftment, alongside Dr Salma's long standing focus on Family Health and Health Systems Strengthening. As mentioned by the Nigerian Health Watch; there are few people that could be more prepared for a role at the national level than Dr Salma, as she is affectionately known by those who know her. She has worked at all levels of the Federal Ministry of Health, at the state level as Commissioner of Health in Borno State from 2011 to 2015 to her role leading the Department of Hospital Services, NEMSAS (Nigeria Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance Scheme) and the Cancer Programme. She worked for many years for UN organisations, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO), in addition to leading a large DFID-funded project, MNCH2. She has seen the health sector from every possible angle, has worked directly with Ministers and Governors, has been part of the donor community defining agendas, and therefore understands the very difficult fiduciary responsibilities of working in our Nigerian context. Dr Salma’s appointment is impactful in working towards a world that values women as leaders in global health and catalysts for better health for all. Through building gender equal leadership in global and national health and going beyond gender parity to Gender Transformative Leadership, we increase the wellbeing and livelihoods of women, their families, and their communities, progress on equity, create stronger health systems for the delivery of higher quality care, allowing us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. I have no doubt that Dr Salma’s visionary approach, coupled with her commitment to evidence-based practices, will revolutionise the Nigerian health sector and usher in positive transformations, with her passion for public health and dedication to improving healthcare delivery being an inspiring and motivating force for others to strive for excellence. Hearty congratulations Dr Salma! 📸: 16 May 2022, Wellbeing Foundation Africa Panel At The Pathfinder International & She Forum Africa “Partnerships for Goals: Advancing the Gender Agenda for Sustainable Development  

FROM June 15th, 2023

Longer lives are one of humanity's greatest achievements, and as the world’s population is ageing, it is necessary to ensure that our quality of life increases. As we commemorate the United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day #WEAAD today, I join the global collaboration of the World Health Organization, Department of Economic and Social Affairs #UNDESA, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights #OHCHR, United Nations Population Fund #UNFPA, UN WOMEN, with support from the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse #INPEA, to highlight the five priorities for the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing 2021–2030, which prevents and responds to abuse of older persons, contributing to the improvement of their health, wellbeing and dignity. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa aims to improve the lives of older people, their families and the communities in which they live, by aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals, therefore contributing to achieving the Decade’s goals through our programming, direct frontline action, partnerships, and by advocating for the Healthy Ageing Collaborative. Too many people around the world experience worse health than they should because of unsupportive environments that prevent them from maximising their later years. By shifting the way healthcare thinks, feels, and acts towards ageing, we can cultivate transformative age-friendly environments, create integrated and responsive healthcare systems and services, and ensure access to long-term care for older people who need it. #AddingLifeToYears Population ageing is set to become one of the most significant societal changes of the twenty-first century, with implications for nearly all sectors. Older individuals make valuable contributions to development, and their abilities should be integrated into healthcare policies and programming at all levels, fulfilling their enormous potential when leading healthy and abuse-free lifestyles.

FROM June 14th, 2023

It was a pleasure to be joined by High Commissioner, His Excellency Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Ishola of the Nigeria High Commission to the United Kingdom, and his amiable wife, Dr Mrs Bolanle Ishola, as Special Guests Of Honour at my Wellbeing Foundation Africa partner Reckitt, and the Health Innovation and Investment Exchange, exclusive and intimate event at the Lio London, organised in support of their non-profit, the WiNFUND. A remarkable evening with musical performances by Kalpee, TayylorMade and Afropop sensation Yemi Alade, the new Global Ambassador of #WiNFUND - it was a pleasure to discuss the importance of engendering female-led health innovations with real-world impact. Healthcare is a fundamental human right, but globally, 1 in 2 people lack access to it. Meanwhile, about 70% of healthcare workers are women, and women-led start-ups deliver 35% better returns on investments, yet only 2% of funding goes to women-led enterprises. The WiNFUND exists to disrupt that status quo by directly investing in women-led start-ups working to improve community access to healthcare across Africa. Connecting with other holders of WiNFUND NFTs, the unique digital artworks that are helping to revolutionise access to healthcare in Africa, while also creating a community of innovators, investors and supporters to champion the next generation of Africa’s women healthcare entrepreneurs, we applauded the model of combining grassroots movements, tech innovation, and the expertise of frontline workers, empowered by the use of unique NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as funding, to enable the WiNFUND to provide investment, business support and mentoring for female entrepreneurs developing leading healthcare solutions. I am proud to support the WiNFUND, to enable equitable access to investments and accelerate women-led health enterprises, increasing economic resiliency! To learn more, visit www.winfundnft.org

FROM June 8th, 2023

Immediate Kangaroo Mother Care: this may be the best 'medicine' in newborn care! Over the past two decades, although there has been a significant decrease in child mortality rates, newborn mortality rates have not experienced the same decline. Unfortunately, today, approximately 1.6 million infants born prematurely or with low birth weight pass away within the first month. Consequently, it is crucial to identify effective measures that can improve outcomes for newborns. Ever since I first saw the incredible benefits of Kangaroo Mother Care, when assisting premature newborn triplets in 2006 being cared for under the expert guidance of the superbly experienced Professor Olugbenga Mokuolu, I have borne witness to the positive outcomes of physical proximity demonstrated in the effectiveness of the simple yet impactful kangaroo mother care (KMC). This intervention involves placing the baby on the mother's chest immediately after birth and then facilitating prolonged skin-to-skin contact while emphasising breastfeeding. This powerful approach has numerous benefits for both the baby and the mother; through regulating the baby's body temperature, promoting stable heart and respiratory rates, enhances breastfeeding initiation and duration, saving numerous infants' lives worldwide. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa champions breastfeeding and kangaroo mother-care in partnership with Medela Cares, empowering mothers and babies to establish lactation within neonatal intensive care unit’s across Nigeria. Containing the optimal and essential nutrients, antibodies, and growth factors that support the development of #NICU babies, while also protecting them against infections and diseases, breast truly is best. Breastfeeding also promotes the bonding and emotional connection between the baby and their mother, as the close physical contact stimulates the release of oxytocin, the "love hormone," fostering a sense of security, comfort and emotional wellbeing. Also recently highlighted in an article by the Gates Foundation, #KMC immediately after birth could save 150,000 more lives each year globally. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa #frontline midwives, nurses and healthcare workers recognise and utilise the transformative potential of #KMC through providing continued education, training, and support in the #NICU setting, ensuring that every infant not only survives but thrives. As our collaborative efforts advance healthcare practices but also establish sustainable change within communities, we can create a brighter future for the most vulnerable among us and ensure that every newborn receives the nurturing support they deserve. At the Gates Foundation, Hema Magge, a senior program officer and a paediatrician/researcher, wants to see more widespread use of KMC, regardless of the pandemic. She calls KMC an “utterly human and humane intervention, but with all of the scientific data behind it. That’s what makes it so powerful.” She also understands its challenges. Here she shares her views on the subject: One of my favourite photos is from the years I spent working with the Rwanda Ministry of Health to establish some of the country’s first rural neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs. The photo shows a midwife I knew named Claudine, along with a mother and her tiny baby laying across her chest—skin to skin, the two of them wrapped together in a blanket. The baby, born early, has a feeding tube to receive her mother’s milk despite being unable to breastfeed. The midwife embraces the mother warmly. Though the mother has just gone through a difficult birth, she gazes at the camera with a look of joy. This is what the first days of getting to know your child should feel like—full of love, support, and solidarity.   This is a wonderful example of the power of kangaroo mother care (KMC), which supports a natural and powerful human process that provides warmth, bonding, and physiological stability. It’s adaptable and can be used alongside oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, and even more intensive respiratory support. And it has been shown repeatedly to be extremely effective in reducing mortality in preterm and low-birth-weight babies—more effective, even, than some high-tech interventions such as incubators. Lessons from the kangaroo mother care ward I will confess that when I first encountered KMC more than a decade ago, I was a bit sceptical. The issue wasn’t KMC itself. I believed that keeping babies close to their mothers after birth, with skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, was protective on many levels. But there was a sense back then that the global development community was promoting KMC as a cheap fix in places where “modern” neonatal care wasn’t available. To me, it felt like a way to avoid confronting the injustice of under-resourced health systems in poor countries. In well-equipped hospitals, small or sick babies were whisked from their parents, supported with the latest technology, and put in incubators. At the time, I felt we should be talking more about how to ensure universal access to high-tech neonatal units like those where I trained in the United States. I was also disheartened by what I saw in many KMC wards. Often, I’d see babies wrapped in blankets, not on a caregiver’s chest. Why weren’t the nurses putting the babies in the kangaroo position? And when mother and baby were wrapped KMC style, I sometimes got the sense that the mothers weren’t comfortable, that they felt trapped. I knew they wanted the best for their babies; so why weren’t they embracing this lifesaving practice? I started to dig deeper, listen, and learn. I spoke with the mothers, and they taught me so much. Some felt scared to hold their tiny baby or were concerned that the baby would be cold without clothes. Others weren’t sure the baby would be safe wrapped onto them, especially if the baby was hooked up to oxygen or IV tubes. How could she provide skin-to-skin contact continuously after birth when her own body needed to recover? How could she go to the bathroom? Or prepare her own meals (since hospitals didn’t provide them)? Or get rest when hospital policies didn’t allow even her husband to visit? When I visited mothers at home after discharge, I understood how hard it must have been to stay in the hospital with a preterm infant for days or weeks when she had other children at home who needed her. I listened to the nurses, too, and began to understand the time and energy required to care for 15 babies as the sole nurse while also addressing the mothers’ concerns, fears, and needs. I began to see how caring for a baby in an incubator—where it’s easy to monitor vital signs, change IVs, and conduct labs—could feel more straightforward in some situations. Suddenly what was billed as a “simple solution” became much more complex. For me, it was a lesson. Properly using KMC would require a culture change. Health systems would have to be redesigned to preserve the bond between mother and baby and keep them together even when the baby needs additional medical support. Infrastructure and policies would need to change. And most of all, mothers would need to be treated with dignity. Many trials have demonstrated the clinical, nutritional, and developmental benefits of KMC, but there still has been a reluctance to use it, especially with the smallest and sickest infants. [caption id="attachment_2011" align="alignleft" width="329"]Mothers over machines Mothers over machines[/caption] The Gates Foundation funded a trial to see if this benefit could be extended safely to infants weighing just 1 to 1.8 kilograms (around 2 to 4 pounds) who were thought to first require incubator stabilization. As it turned out, the trial had to be stopped early because immediate KMC was saving so many more lives than the standard of care. My experience in Rwanda, coupled with the volumes of research, made me think more deeply about how health systems in wealthy countries have evolved over the years toward a model of separating small and sick infants from their mothers. In a typical NICU, there isn’t even a place for a parent to sit or lie with a baby on their chest. A mother’s life-sustaining warmth, heartbeat, and gentle breathing are replaced with machines. This is happening more frequently in poor countries, too. But it’s clear to me now that in applying this scientific lens—or what we thought was scientific—we are disrupting the natural human experience. We’re also not providing the best possible care to preterm infants. Now both rich and poor countries have the challenge of undoing this harm.   KMC and COVID-19 Certainly, COVID-19 has seriously disrupted maternal, newborn, and child health care, with both maternal mortality and stillbirths rising sharply in some settings. But this disruption has also presented opportunities, not only by exposing the fragile nature of maternal and child health—and health care systems more broadly—but by doing something to stop preventable deaths. KMC is an entry point into reimagining how to provide person-centred, comprehensive care for small and sick newborns and their mothers. The foundation is now working with WHO, UNICEF, and other global partners to support integration of KMC. I’m optimistic that more and more doctors and nurses will recognize the transformational power of KMC. I saw it happen in Rwanda. Step by step, the hospital team started to address the issues the mothers and nurses identified. They began rethinking the physical design of neonatal units and care delivery processes and recognizing the caregivers’ expertise. Bolstered by the power of community and shared experience, they began realising the vision of KMC. I also see it happening in some of the best-resourced medical centres, including NICUs here in Seattle that are incorporating KMC into their care of premature infants, learning from experiences in Africa, Asia, and South America. That vision is what I see in the photo. My friend Claudine was a clinical provider, ally, and advocate for baby and mother together. The mother felt respected and had her needs prioritised while nurturing her baby’s health. When the right tools are in place, you can walk into a KMC unit and see mothers and health care workers smiling. We just have to listen to the experts—mothers and caregivers—to do it right.

FROM May 26th, 2023

This week at the Seventy-Sixth World Health Assembly, I was proud to join PMNCH, as their oldest country partner and board overseer, to ensure the practical actions countries and partners can take to improve the health and rights of women, children and adolescents across the life-course with the urgency and priority it deserves. Prior to the public discussion on the PMNCH Partners Born Too Soon: Decade of Action on Preterm Birth, my bilateral with Executive Director, Helga Fogstad of Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, focused on the consensus building needed to promote the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents, based on the energy, evidence, data, practices and dialogue needed for every mother, baby and child to not only survive, but thrive throughout their life course. Deep discussions continued at the live PMNCH strategic event, Lives in the Balance: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, featuring Bo Jacobsson, Co-Chair, MNCH workstream, Director, Maternal and Newborn Health, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Anshu Banerjee, Director, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing, Joy Phumaphi, Co-chair, Partner Engagement in Countries Committee, PMNCH, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, John Mangwiro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe, Martin Chungong, Secretary-General, Inter-parliamentary Union, Michele Sumilas, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning, USAID, Naoko Kozuki, Director, Research and Innovation for Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal Health, International Rescue Committee and Steven Lauwerier, Acting Director, Health, UNICEF. The Born Too Soon: Decade of Action report, recently launched at the first biennial International Maternal Newborn Health Conference, has equipped us with the latest learnings that must be replicated on a wider scale. One common theme that continues to arise is the vitality of concerted multi-stakeholder collaboration and cooperation that is necessary to advance this agenda.

FROM May 23rd, 2023

Partnerships Making a Difference. I am honoured to present my 2022 Global Office and Philanthropy Annual Report, a testament to our unwavering commitment to The Wellbeing Foundation Africa mission of improving health and wellbeing across Nigeria and the world, in alignment with achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, from birth to age. As we reflect on our year, it is crucial to acknowledge the prevailing challenges and the progress made in addressing them. As we progress, we are confronting the failures within health systems head-on. My Global Office and Philanthropy remains steadfast in its dedication to addressing the root causes of and improving the overall wellbeing of the most vulnerable populations. Through supporting the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s innovative reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition programming, advocacy campaigns, and strategic partnerships, we have made significant inroads in equipping communities with knowledge, access to quality healthcare, and the tools needed. Ingrained in our decades of research, awareness and implementation, we look forward to advancing the promise, and meeting our global goals and targets. You can download my 2022 Annual Report or read it below. [3d-flip-book id="2039" ][/3d-flip-book]

FROM May 15th, 2023

According to the “Born Too Soon” report released by the United Nations agencies and partners recently, of every 10 babies born, 1 is preterm, and every 40 seconds, 1 of those babies dies. Produced by the WHO, UNICEF, in association with PMNCH - Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and LSTM - Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine News, Born too soon: decade of action on preterm birth, sounds the alarm on what is a silent emergency of preterm births, long under-recognized in its scale and severity, which is impeding progress in improving the health and survival of children around the world. As we commemorate the United Nations International Day of Families today, it is clear that action is needed urgently to improve the prevention of preterm birth, alongside better care for affected babies and their families, as preterm birth rates have not changed in any region in the world in the past decade, with 152 million vulnerable babies born too soon from 2010 to 2020. Preterm birth is now the leading cause of stillbirths and child deaths, accounting for more than 1 in 5 of all deaths of children occurring before their 5th birthday. Preterm survivors can face lifelong health consequences, with an increased likelihood of disability and developmental delays. My The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and WBFA Midwives can heartfully attest that too often, where babies are born determines if they survive. The gaping inequalities related to ethnicity, reach, income, and access to quality care, alongside the impacts of conflict and climate change determine the likelihood of preterm birth, death, and disability. Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest rates of preterm birth, and preterm babies in this region face the highest mortality risk, with only 1 in 10 preterm babies surviving in low-income countries, compared to more than 9 in 10 in high-income countries. By empowering our WBFA Midwives, we have witnessed first-hand through our Mamacare360 Programming that women who receive midwife-led continuity of care provided by professional and educated midwives, regulated to international standards are: 16% less likely to lose their baby and 24% less likely to experience preterm birth. The WBFA-Medela Cares Lactation and Human Milk Initiative for mothers of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit programme is a strategic initiative built and scaled on evidence-based best practices aimed at improving the use of Own Mothers Milk in the NICU led by our WBFA midwives. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival because breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life. Research has shown that 47% of the deaths of children under 5 years occur in the first 28 days of life, and these deaths are a result of preventable diseases that can be avoided through improved nutrition with the mother's milk. Yet, we still need a clear global agenda for action, which highlights country investment and healthcare worker and parent-led activism, to advocate for access to better care, policy change and more support. Measuring the impact of the WBFA and EWEC supported Every Newborn Action Plan 2014-2020, and the ongoing 2020-2025 WHO ENAP Agenda as IMNHC 2023 took place last week, I urge the health community to increase the mobilisation of resources, accelerate implementation, integrate across sectors, and drive local innovation and research.

FROM April 24th, 2023

The Big Catch-Up on Vaccinations to ensure our world is fit for every child! As World Immunization Week 2023 begins, The UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2023, For Every Child, Vaccination Report highlights the collective action needed to protect people, and especially children, from vaccine-preventable diseases. We must now commit to the catch-up needed as millions of children during the pandemic missed out on vital vaccines, while we work to strengthen our primary health care systems to deliver the necessary immunization, emboldening happier and healthier communities that are protected. Immunization is one of the most impactful and cost-effective public health interventions available, and often brings children and families into contact with health systems, providing an opportunity for the delivery of other basic health services and laying the foundation for primary health care. Ensuring universal access to vaccines, creates a critical entry point for universal health coverage as well. 7 out of 10 children in Nigeria are not fully vaccinated by age two, with Nigeria being home to the second largest number of zero-dose children in the world. Nigeria must accelerate programming to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3’s target of achieving more than 90% coverage of all basic vaccinations among children aged 12-23 months, and align the nation with WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan targets, as vaccine-preventable diseases like tuberculosis, measles and pneumonia continue to rank among the top killers of children under age five in the Global South. My The Wellbeing Foundation Africa implements exemplary community based and trusted programming, with strategic frontline investment in supporting robust universal immunization advocacy that reaches the most vulnerable, to expand access to vaccines to improve child health and survival. Through our flagship Mamacare360 programme, WBFA midwives address the importance of routine immunization to mothers, and the use of vaccines to protect their children, building trust and access to complete essential immunization, with the WBFA Universal Health Child Health Record Book serving as an immunization record, which improves immunization rates, building accountability and transparency. We are at a pivotal moment as we see the re-emergence of preventable diseases, and if we do not act now, millions of the world’s most vulnerable children will be left behind. Vaccination must be regarded as a national priority, as a national priority with multilateral support and global health diplomacy, as it protects not just an individual, but whole communities, laying the foundation to reach every person with the basic health services they need to thrive.

FROM April 20th, 2023

It was a pleasure to attend the Launch of the WHO-UNICEF-JICA guide on Strengthening implementation of home-based records for maternal, newborn and child health, this afternoon! The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of home-based records as a complement to facility-based records, to improve care seeking behaviours, men’s involvement and support in the household, maternal and child home care practices, infant and child feeding, and communication between health workers and women, parents and caregivers, so I am delighted that my The Wellbeing Foundation Africa in-country policy team are collaborating with national policymakers and the NPHCDA, Unicef, JICA and partners to validate Nigeria's Maternal and Child Handbook this week. Having initiated the WBFA IMNCH Personal Health Records©️ in 2006, and the WBFA RMNCAH Universal Health Records©️ and Maternal Notes in 2014, I am delighted by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) leadership and multilateral organisational stakeholdership that has grown to embrace the concept of The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Handbook in Nigeria. Published for the first time in Japan in 1948, the MCH handbook is being developed and adapted around the world. MCH handbook programs have been introduced in more than 50 countries and areas to increase knowledge and change MCH related behaviour through strengthening communication between health professionals and mothers with children. It is also utilised as a basic tool for ensuring the quality of lives of mothers, children and families. Interestingly, child health records and growth charts were introduced in Nigeria at the Wesley Guild Hospital (WGH), Ilesa, in the old Western Region back in the 1950s and early 60s by Professor David Morley, whose survey of the population of Imesi-Ile village revealed that 450 children out of every 1000 was dying before the age of five years. A full longitudinal study was initiated and over the next 18 months all children born into the community were registered, and then followed with monthly checks for a full five years. A special ‘Under Fives Clinic’ was initiated with high protein weaning food introduced. Mothers kept the children’s records with less loss than for hospital based records; Grade II midwives were taught to deal with 90% of clinical needs and to refer to the other 10%. By 1960 outpatient attendance had reached 200 000 at WGH, 80% of whom were under 18 year olds. The first measles vaccine was trialled at Ilesa and Imesi-Ile in 1960 - and thus, the pioneering work at the local Imesi-Ile community revolutionised global child health. I look forward, along with partners, to the greater strengthening and implementation of home-based records for maternal newborn and child health in Nigeria, through the adoption and domestication of the WHO, Unicef and JICA Guide For Country Programme Managers.

FROM April 18th, 2023

153 Midwives trained and counting… to save lives and improve a woman’s pregnancy experience! When I attended the Lagos State Health Services Commission Nursing Scientific Conference in July 2022, the desire for training opportunities was loud and clear, so I am delighted to witness The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Partnership with General Electric - GE Healthcare, continue our Sonology Training Program for Nigeria's Midwives on the Vscan handheld ultrasound machine at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital today and tomorrow.  Based on WHO Antenatal Care recommendations, which aim to empower all women to access the type of person-centred Antenatal Care that they require and to provide a sound foundation for such care in accordance with a respectful and human rights-based approach, the training is the first time midwives and nurses in Lagos will be educated on the US machinery, further upskilling and developing the evidence-based practices and guidance to improve the quality of care provided to all mothers and babies throughout The Wellbeing Foundation Africa continuum of care.  It gives me great joy that The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is increasing access to training and medical equipment in Nigeria to empower safer births by engendering public sector midwives and nurses with the necessary knowledge and skills to utilise US machinery effectively. As national leaders in delivering a progressive antenatal intrapartum and postnatal care pathway, we are creating demand, as well as strengthening capacity, and providing a trusted community health centred approach daily to the early detection and subsequent diagnosis of women and neonates to minimise adverse complications throughout pregnancy.  A well trained and equipped healthcare worker delivering quality care to an informed and empowered mother is the difference between life and death. I appreciate the excellent stakeholder engagement with the Lagos State Health Services Commission, congratulate all attendees, and reconfirm the The Wellbeing Foundation Africa commitment to champion training, and empowering healthcare workers across Nigeria, to improve health outcomes for all. 

FROM April 14th, 2023

It's great news to know, as the United Nations and global development partners mark World Chagas Disease Day today, that according to the latest WHO data published in 2020, total deaths by Chagas disease in Nigeria were 0 or 0.00%. The age-adjusted death rate is 0.00 per 100,000 population, ranking Nigeria #183 globally. In 2000, there were over 1.7 billion people worldwide affected by Chagas Disease (CD), a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) that affects over a billion people worldwide; therefore, it is imperative that its Time to integrate Chagas Disease into primary health care. People with Chagas Disease can be found anywhere in the world. However, the transmission of the disease through the bite of "kissing bugs" (vector-borne transmission) occurs only in the Americas, typically in rural areas of Mexico, Central America and South America. The disease can also transmit from mother to child during pregnancy or through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Fatigue, fever, swollen glands, and digestive disturbances are some of the symptoms of the disease. Neglected Tropical Disease (NTA) is described as a group of infectious diseases that are common in tropical and subtropical regions. They are caused by pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins. These diseases are largely overlooked and underfunded, yet they cause significant illness, disability, and death. Chagas Disease is a Neglected Tropical Disease that is not entirely dissimilar to African Sleeping Sickness, which is also an NTA. Both Sleeping Sickness and Chagas Disease are infectious diseases caused by the same parasite - Trypanosoma. The parasite Trypanosoma cruzi is the cause of Chagas Disease, while Trypanosoma brucei gambiense causes Sleeping Sickness. These parasites live in animals and can transmit from person to person threatening millions of people around the world, including 36 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. Displacement of populations, war and poverty are also important factors that facilitate the transmission of the disease. As such, many people affected by the disease live in remote rural areas with limited access to adequate health services, complicating surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of cases. As I end this work week, I commend the dedication of every Wellbeing Foundation Africa State Project Team across Nigeria. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa programs are anchored through our flagship Mamacare360 Antenatal & Postnatal Program structure across Nigeria. Our Sokoto and Kano State Teams are making impactful progress in scaling up Zinc-LO-ORS treatments to reduce childhood diarrhoea in Northern Nigeria, supported by Nutritional International & the Government of Canada. The Lagos, Kwara, and Osun States Teams continue our WBFA Mamacare-Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest Programs in health care facilities, schools and communities across the FCT Abuja, Lagos and Kwara States, alongside our Osun and Cross River State Teams that continue Mamacare Maternity Programs.

FROM April 6th, 2023

According to the World Bank, despite Nigerian women making up 49.32% of Nigeria’s population, nearly half, their numerical strength fails to impact the nation’s political life with female representation in decision-making being abysmally low since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. Therefore, it is with great pride that I congratulate the 7 women winners of Senatorial seats and the 11 women elected into the House of Representatives, and the 4 women elected as Deputy Governors, along with women that won House of Assembly seats in their respective states. In December 2022, I was honoured, as a Steering Council Member of the African Womens Leaders Network both in Nigeria and globally, to join the like-minded and spirited women of #AWLN, a ground-breaking movement implemented with the support of the Office of the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security, and of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women UN Women, to promote the goals of increasing women's political participation and leadership aligned with the ElectHER movement of advancing the inclusion of women in politics, public life and ultimately achieving 51% women representation,  at the ElectHer Celebrating the Nigerian Spirit Ahead of 2023, Green Wine Green Gala, funded by the European Union, in the electoral run-up of the 2023 Nigeria elections where women made up only 8.9% of the total candidates. Notwithstanding the increased advocacy in the last four years for gender balance and more active female participation in politics, female representation in the 2023 polls is believed to be the worst, compared to the 2011, 2015 and 2019 general election statistics. Closer to home in Kwara however, the 2011 elections returned 6 women in the state house of assembly, 4 women in the 2015 state assembly, no women in the 2019 state assembly, despite an encouraging history of woman's representation which included 10 female local government chairpersons, 2 female senators, 3 female federal representatives, 3 female federal ministers and an ambassador during 2003 to 2019. 5 women have been elected to the Kwara state assembly in the recently concluded 2023 election, including 26-year-old Rukayat Shittu, one of the youngest candidates in Nigeria to contest and win a political seat. It is a great pleasure to also congratulate Madame Beatrice Eyong, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria, on receiving the International Gender Champion Special Recognition Award at the Women in Maritime and Energy Awards 2023. With over 35 years professional working experience in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment, and within her role as Country Representative of UN Women Nigeria, Ms. Eyong has led a strong multi-sectoral approach to equity across private and public industries, efforts which are essential as Nigerian women continue to be underrepresented in elective offices. Despite the challenges women face, we must continue the gust of positive energy for women’s activism and advocacy, education of women, positivity on the part of successive governments towards women empowerment, and interest of women to participate in politics.

FROM April 4th, 2023

Personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) help children and young people stay healthy, safe and prepared for life and work. When taught well, it is a necessary part of all pupils' education to help them achieve their academic potential. As the Millennium Development Goals era concluded in 2015, my The Wellbeing Foundation Africa ushered in the bold and ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. Adopting transformative and practical schools and visiting nursing delivery models in Nigeria to develop peer-education programming for primary and adolescents in personal, social and health education (PSHE), and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) knowledge and skills. Upscaled and boosted since 2022, through our impactful collaboration with, and support from, Reckitt, Dettol Nigeria and The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's (WBFA) Hygiene Quest curricula and programming, children at GJSS Gbagalape, GJSS Giri, GJSS Gwagwalada, Abuja, St Theresa Nursery and Primary School, Lagos, and Ita Aisha, Ilorin, amongst many other schools in the FCT Abuja, Lagos and Kwara states, receive weekly empowering, engaging and story-driven sessions. The Hygiene and Me module is split into two classroom topics, 'The Unseen World', which focuses on germs that cause illnesses and 'The Power of Clean Hands', which focuses on the best practices and importance of clean hands, impacting health, education, and development. By teaching our children and youth how to prevent the spread of germs through good personal hygiene habits and behaviours, we are building their understanding of hygiene, contributing towards our goal of reducing diarrhoea and keeping children and the environment in which they learn healthy and safe. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's (WBFA) Primary & Adolescent School Nurses and Health Visitors are our Sanitation Angels. They include qualified nurses, midwives and coaches with specialist training in public health for children, young people and families. WBFA aims to reach 6 million children in Nigeria by 2025, contributing to the goal of reaching 100 million children globally by the end of 2026. They aim to achieve this through our grassroots work to deliver Clean Naija Commitments to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), reduce the burden of diarrhoeal disease and open defecation by 2030.

FROM March 31st, 2023

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead As my Wellbeing Foundation Africa continues on its quest to globally contribute to achieving zero preventable maternal and neonatal deaths by 2030 through transformative approaches to health workforce education, training and skills, we gratefully and enthusiastically welcome the generous donation of eight Vscan portable handheld ultrasound machines from the Nigerian division of the global medical technology innovator, General Electric Healthcare, towards a mutual goal of increasing frontline midwives access to modern tools. I was proud to virtually join my Wellbeing Foundation Africa apex midwives and a cohort of Federal Capital Territory Abuja public health facility midwives and stakeholders today as we trained on the use of the Vscan wireless ultrasound systems at The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and UNFPA Gwagalada School of Nursing and Midwifery Skills Laboratory. This innovative technology is designed for primary health workers, including midwives, who work in remote rural settings to assess pregnancy risks early and help expand the reach of quality care to mothers who need it the most. Accessible and appropriate, the ultrasound machine is intuitive and reliable when on the ground, allowing our midwives to follow the WHO recommended one ultrasound scan before 24 weeks gestation to estimate gestational age, improve detection of foetal anomalies and multiple pregnancies, reduce the induction of labour for post-term pregnancy, and improve a woman’s pregnancy experience.  Most women in developed countries receive at least two ultrasound scans during pregnancy; however, in much of Africa, this type of procedure isn't as common, drastically impacting maternal and foetal health. In Nigeria, the lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or after an abortion for a Nigerian woman is 1 in 22, compared to 1 in 4900 in developed countries, which have timely access to healthcare, including the preventative ultrasound system to detect any complications early on. Supporting the skilled deployment of these ultrasound machines will contribute to the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's progressive antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care pathway by enabling our midwives to easily image patients at the point of care, further transforming our Mamacare 360 community health-centred programming, which commits daily to the early detection and subsequent diagnosis of women and neonates to minimise adverse antenatal intrapartum and postnatal complications. A well trained and supported midwife delivering quality and respectful antenatal and postnatal maternity care and counsel to an informed and empowered mother is the difference between life and death. We appreciate and thank the Nigeria division of GE Healthcare for donating these ultrasound machines. The accelerated and optimised care and treatment will further strengthen maternal care in the region and minimise postnatal complications, delivering better health outcomes across Nigeria and emboldening the frontline and the family! 

FROM March 29th, 2023

We all agree; Water Is The Foundation of Health! Co-Creating future programmatic actions is both my purpose and my passion, so I was honoured to be invited by our trusted The Wellbeing Foundation Africa partners Reckitt to highlight and share my insights on our collaborative WBFA and Dettol Nigeria Hygiene Quest programme and curricula, which is accelerating the uptake of long-lasting WASH habits in schools, healthcare facilities and communities across Nigeria, on the sidelines of the UN-Water Conference 2023 at the UN HQ in NYC last week. Taking place at the WBFA partner McCann Worldgroup Black Box, I joined moderator David Shukman, Former BBC Correspondent and Science Editor, Fan Zhang, Lead Economist and Global Lead for Water Economics and Climate Change at the World Bank, Rajash Sarin, Regional Director, Water.org, Professor Daniele Lantagne, Tufts University, and Rodrigo Belli, CEO of Agua Camelo to discuss how water is the foundation of health, with continuum being the key to healthy communities, from access to water and sanitation to hygiene and hygienic behaviours, and finally to better health outcomes. Straight afterwards at the UNHQ, it was great to catch up with Dominic O’Neill, Executive Director and Sue Coates, Deputy Executive Director, of my long-standing advocacy partners, The Sanitation and Hygiene Fund who are a transformative UN fund that is catalysing national sanitation economies across the African Union region, including in Nigeria which is a high priority country, to pave the way for climate resilience, gender equity and water security through innovative financing in WASH. Reflecting on the Water Conference and the adoption of the Water Action Agenda, representing voluntary commitments of nations and stakeholders, including those of my ECOSOC and Global Compact accredited The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, to achieve SDG6, it is evident that without enough water at the right time in the right quality, there is no sustainable development in any sector, leaving billions behind.

FROM March 27th, 2023

A world where every child is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled! Last week at the United Nations, it was an honour to touchpoint with senior women leaders of the United Nations Population Fund, a multilateral development anchor partner of my The Wellbeing Foundation Africa. In my meetings with Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, on the sidelines of attending the UN Water Conference 2023 at the UN HQ in NYC with my WBFA Global Team, and with her colleagues Diene Keita, Deputy Executive Director for Programmes, and Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of Strategic Partnerships, we reviewed the impact of our WBFA UNFPA facilitated environments where mothers and young people are empowered to achieve a high-quality of wellbeing, based on a holistic approach to progress for all. Through our WBFA UNFPA RMNCAH Nutrition International Leverage and Influence for Transformation NLIFT initiative, we pioneered integrative nutrition interventions into existing development platforms, becoming an Implementing Partner in 2018 with UNFPA to execute the MamaCare + Nutrition programme through our flagship MamaCare360. In 2019 WBFA joined Member States in making the historic commitment at the Nairobi Summit ICPD+25 convened by UNFPA, to accelerate the achievement of the three zeros by 2030: zero unmet need for contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices. Dr. Kanem, a champion for gender equality and for the health, rights, and wellbeing of women and girls presented me with the emblematic advocacy symbols of the Bodyright.me Campaign, and while together, we discussed the importance of imminently strengthening the connections between population, equity, comprehensive education and a prosperous world through investing in healthcare that prioritises women and girls, especially the most marginalised. Our work aspires to further the mission of a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. I look forward to the continued WBFA UNFPA joint efforts, as we aim to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

FROM March 25th, 2023

Fighting Slavery’s Legacy of Racism Through Transformative Education, Partnerships For Recognition, Justice and Development. On International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, I am remembering the millions of Africans who were torn away from their families, deprived of their human rights and left with trauma spanning generations. The racist legacy of the transatlantic slave trade continues to reverberate today in harmful prejudices and beliefs that impact people of African descent across the world. As proclaimed by the General Assembly, the theme for the 2015-2024 International Decade is “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.” In proclaiming this Decade, the international community is recognising that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. Around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the continent. As I attended various work engagements at the United Nations HQ in NYC this week, with the UN Water Conference 2023 taking place, it was clear that inequities emerge from the shadows of complacency, and that discrimination and hate speech are a plague of their own. We must not let down our guard in dismantling racism and prejudice. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s trusted partnership and work with UN ECOSOC, UN Global Compact, UNFPA, Every Woman Every Child, and African Womens Leaders Network, harnesses years of thought leadership and experience in programming for the needs of the most marginalised and disadvantaged, as we advance equity and social justice for people of Africa and African descent, and toward the fulfilment of human rights and dignity for all. Through recognising this period of history, we can help people see the world through an ethical lens and change the status quo, with transformative education being essential to the learning of slavery in order to end racism and injustice, and to build inclusive societies based on dignity and human rights.

FROM March 24th, 2023

At the Yale Club yesterday, it was a pleasure to engage with our Wellbeing Foundation Africa commitment partners, The United Nations and UN Global Compact, to mobilise the movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the healthy and thriving world we want, on the sidelines of the UN Water Conference 2023, in New York City, hosted by Reckitt, World Wildlife Fund, Water Resilience Coalition, and the Government of Mexico. The public roundtable moderated by David Shukman formerly of BBC, and featuring David Croft of Reckitt, Sarah Davidson of World Wildlife, and Jim Andrew of PepsiCo focused on achieving water positivity, which complemented the Ambition for 100 Basins, and launch of the Business Leaders Open Call for Accelerating Action on Water, creating the space for those interested groups from businesses, civil society, to governments, to chart out next steps for how to move from commitment to concrete action. We discussed the importance of water conservation for businesses operating in water stressed areas, as companies can often face unique challenges to operating responsibly when on the ground, and must harness the opportunities to make a positive impact through understanding and learning the local lens. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa supports the ten principles of the UN Global Compact with respect to human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. With this pledge and through this initiative, we express our intent to support stakeholders, including the private sector and governments in their implementation of sustainable improvements to water, health, wellbeing, socioeconomic development and monitoring and evaluation practices in Nigeria and globally. It was good to learn from the parliamentarians of the Government of Mexico, and their incredibly important work on water. Together, we can achieve the key dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 including water quantity, quality, and accessibility by aligning our strategies and operations innovatively.

FROM March 23rd, 2023

Turning the Tide: A Call to Collective Action I was encouraged to see the sea change in how we value, manage and use water with the Global Commission on the Economics of Water at the United Nations HQ, with the collective call for action being led by H.E. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General WTO, H.E. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister, Government of Singapore, Prof. Dr. Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London, and Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström, Professor in Earth System Science at University of Potsdam in the presence of H.M. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and H.E. President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan. The seven-point Call to Collective Action provides a path that can be realised in the current decade; for how we govern, value and use water, from the local to the global, and open up major opportunities for innovation and investment, to enable more efficient, inclusive and sustainable use of water. It will enable the conversion of water to go from a growing global tragedy to immense global opportunity, to bring a new direction to policies and collaboration, ensuring that everyone has access to the water they need. Drawing on the wisdom, insights and diverse experience of the private and public sector, the Commission will continue to engage in societal dialogues worldwide over the next year and develop its ideas and proposals further with a final report, to be issued in 2024, aiming to complete the sustainability trilogy that began with the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity. A great appreciation to Henk Ovink, Special Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for Water, for his continued dedication in catalyzing this conference, as we discussed how a sustainable and just water future can be achieved, but we must treat water as what it is: our most precious global collective good, essential to protecting all ecosystems and all life, which rejuvenates our economies, benefits people everywhere, and unlocks progress in all our Sustainable Development Goals.

FROM March 22nd, 2023

Water Actions; the change we want to see in this world. Today on World Water Day 2023, I begin my engagements at the UN Water Conference at the United Nations HQ in New York City! This once-in-a-generation moment for the world to unite around water, with the last United Nations Water Conference being held 45 years ago in 1977, highlights the strong global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and the continued promise that everyone will have safely managed access to water and sanitation by 2030. The latest data states that governments must work on average four times faster to meet SDG 6 on time, but water and WASH is not a situation that any single actor or group can solve. According to the WHO and UNICEF 1.4 million people die annually and 74 million will have their lives shortened by diseases related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene and today, and almost half of the global population, 3.6 billion people, lack safe sanitation. Water affects all of us, and therefore we must all take action now. Joining our trusted The Wellbeing Foundation Africa partner Reckitt, and Starbucks, Ecolab, Gap Inc., DuPont with the U.S. Government, I welcome the nearly $150 million that the Water Equity Global Access Fund IV will be investing by mid-2023 with the goal of reaching 5 million people with access to water, sanitation and hygiene. I am delighted to focus on accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis, as dysfunction throughout the water cycle undermines progress on all major global issues, from health to hunger, gender equality to jobs, education to industry, and disasters to peace.

FROM March 21st, 2023

Accelerating change; Interdisciplinary expertise can tackle complex problems. As I head to global engagements on the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, my The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Frontline Programmes continue to provide timely access and leading optimal services to health, wellbeing and social care in 230 hospitals, 92 schools, and 100 communities, across 7 states in Nigeria, for all. On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination, based on a global set of common values and the acknowledgment that rights are inherent to every single human being, is core to the WBFA social work which aims to advance equality, combat racism, racial discrimination, and related intolerance through grassroots education and community behavioural change. As my Wellbeing Foundation Africa in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations ECOSOC advocates for the elimination of discrimination and embraces the need for equity, I am looking forward to attending this week’s United Nations Water Conference, and providing insight on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular #SDG6 - ensuring access to water and sanitation for all WASH. Water is critical for the health and prosperity of people and the planet, and frontline feedback is essential in guiding global thought leadership which leads to the necessary programmatic actions on the ground. Together, we must harness this once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate progress towards universal access to safe water and sanitation by 2030 to mainstream hygiene as central to community and maternal health, while eliminating conditions that perpetuate discrimination.

FROM March 2nd, 2023

Making history in Women's History Month, I was excited today, as we approach International Women's Day, to join my Wellbeing Foundation Africa anchor partners Reckitt Benckiser Group and Dettol Nigeria to celebrate the power of ‘women for health’ and launch the WiNFund. Health is something that connects us all but is tragically still not available to 50% of people across the world, yet daily I see the impact of our Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Hygiene Quest collaboration bring much needed health and hygiene practices to communities across 3 states of Nigeria, and hope to scale and spread this beneficial progress to more states. We know that women entrepreneurs create 35% better returns, yet less than 2% of VC investment goes to women. Old approaches have failed. Now is the time to disrupt this status quo. Improving access to healthcare will take new leaders, innovation and a virtuous community owned approach. I congratulate Reckitt and the Health Innovation Exchange - HIEx, along with Kofi Annan Foundation, Tokenproof and the Ecobank Foundation, who aim to impact availability of healthcare by championing the next generation of female health entrepreneurs in Africa by co-founding the Women in Innovation Fund (WiN FUND NFT) - a 100% non-profit that supports female-led health innovations with real-world impact, as 70% of the global healthcare workforce are women. The approach combines grassroots movements, tech innovation, and the expertise of frontline workers by using unique digital artwork NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to fund projects, build a community of mentors, health experts and innovators to help women-led social enterprises democratise access to health care, complimented by traditional funding routes. The first NFT collection, designed by Rwandan artist Christella Bijou, is now live, and we have received over 300 applications from women-led enterprises across seven nations in Africa, demonstrating the strong untapped potential of grassroots innovation! To learn more, you can join our community and show your support for women-led organisations through NFT HERE

FROM March 1st, 2023

Today, on Zero Discrimination Day, I am highlighting the need to ensure every human has the right to live a full and productive life, based in dignity, inclusion, compassion, and peace. Together with Africa REACH Leadership Council Members, as we took the bold step of launching our initiative to increase access to life-saving medication at the 36th AU Summit African Union in the margins of the 27th Ordinary General Assembly of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development, I conversed with UNAIDS Global Chief Winnie Byanyima, commending the focus of this year’s theme, Save lives: Decriminalise - emphasising the decriminalisation of key populations and people living with HIV, to save lives and help advance the end of the AIDS pandemic. As an Inaugural Africa REACH Board Member, and long-time advocate for the health and wellbeing of those living with HIV through The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Positive Lifeline and PMTCT programming, I continue to discourage criminal laws targeting those living with HIV as a violation of human rights, as it exacerbates the stigma and creates barriers in accessing the the support and services people need to protect their health. In 2021, United Nations member states including Nigeria made a commitment that by 2025 less than 10% of countries would have punitive legal and policy environments that affect the HIV response. Unfortunately, today, 134 countries still explicitly criminalise or prosecute HIV exposure, non-disclosure or transmission, furthering us from achieving this target and our Sustainable Development Goals. Unfairly, criminalisation of PLWHA increases vulnerability, driving discrimination and structural inequalities. Together, we must create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination, and allow people the prospect of healthy and fulfilling lives, while working towards ending AIDS.

FROM February 17th, 2023

As women in global health from Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, I joined Professor Flavia Senkubugeand and Dr. Choolwe Nkwemu Jacobs, to address the importance of gender-transformative leadership to bring much needed diversity in perspective and professional expertise as the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention faces a crucial milestone in selecting its next director-general. Women have a critical role as experts in the health systems they largely deliver, and provide valuable insight to gender responsive policies which achieve better health outcomes and tackle gender inequality in the health care sector, which undermines global health efforts. Therefore, together, as supporters of the Women in Global Health movement with 46 chapters worldwide, and the largest presence in Africa, we are calling on the African Union, Africa CDC, and its member states to consider women equally in all senior decision-making levels, as the African region has no shortage of talented women capable of taking on these important roles, including that of director-general. Read our full thoughts here.

FROM February 10th, 2023

On World Pulses Day 2023, I am encouraged that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) campaign highlights raising awareness of the importance of pulses in diets within Sub-Saharan Africa. Pulses such as dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas and lentils positively contribute to food security, nutrient dense diets, and have adapted to adverse climatic conditions, allowing them to grow resiliently and sustainably, providing healthier and productive lives. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa prioritises the nutritional status of children and women who are most vulnerable to malnutrition. Our WBFA frontline midwives encourage good nutrition every day, as the first defence against poor health outcomes, and aim to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition in communities, as the right to adequate food is universal for all. The production and consumption of pulses has transformed and diversified farming systems. Farmers can both sell and consume them, aiding in maintaining household food security and economic stability, while improving lives globally. It is rich in soluble fibre and high in protein, which can help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, making it a recommended and accessible addition to diets by the WHO for the management of non-communicable diseases. Pulses can also thrive in water scarce environments, as they have a low water footprint and better tolerate drought and climate-related disasters, making them adaptable for agriculture livelihoods during shifts in weather patterns. The production of pulses of Africa increased from 5.11 million tonnes in 1972 to 22 million tonnes in 2021 growing at an average annual rate of 3.32%. We must prioritise advocating to, and collaborating with governments, and the private sector alongside the public and youth to support the education, production and consumption of pulses as part of sustainable food systems, healthy diets and to achieve the United Nations, The Global Goals, SDG 2.

FROM February 7th, 2023

As World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023 comes to a close, I am recognising the affirmative power of inter-religious dialogue based in mutual understanding and a culture of peace, to continue as a way to promote harmony, cooperation and goodwill between all, and at all times. Respect and dignity provide a platform which encourages the powerful movement of interfaith unity built on diversity, solidarity, tolerance and human dignity, World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023 exemplifies that our common values of, Love of God, Love of Good and Love of One’s Neighbour, far outweigh our differences. Governments, institutions and civil society such as my The Wellbeing Foundation must continue to prioritise various educational programmes and initiatives at the community level to build bridges across boundaries, and achieve the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023 objectives of working together for gender equality, mental health, wellbeing, and environmental preservation.

FROM February 6th, 2023

My thoughts and prayers are with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and First Lady Emine Erdoğan, the Turkish Government and the people of Central and South-East Turkey, as well as the people and refugees of already vulnerable Northern Syria today, as they face the traumatic aftermath and damage of the devastating earthquakes this morning. First responders have commenced rescue efforts and calls for international assistance are underway. In times such as these, collective efforts, support and global unity is required. The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesushas has immediately assured that the WHO network of emergency medical assistance has been promptly activated to provide essential care for the injured and most vulnerable. This response alongside those of national and international humanitarian agencies and organisations will be vital to provide sustained support at such a trying time. My condolences to the families who have lost loved ones, as I hope and pray that rescue efforts brace up with coordinated strength and fortitude for the difficult hours and days that lie ahead.      

FROM February 6th, 2023

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation reminds us of the continued prevalence of this international violation of the human rights of girls and women, deep-rooted in inequality and discrimination, breaching their rights to health, security and integrity. According to UNICEF female genital mutilation continues to be on the rise among Nigerian girls aged 0-14, while accounting for the third highest number of women and girls who have been subjected to FGM globally. Over 68 million girls worldwide are estimated to be at risk of female genital mutilation during the 15-year plan to achieve the United Nations Global Goals SDGs, with 4.32 million in 2023 alone. As a UNFPA community stakeholder committed to the Nairobi Summit ICPD+25, WBFA aims to achieve; zero unmet needs for family planning and services, zero preventable maternal and infant deaths, zero sexual and gender-based violence including early and forced marriage, as well as female genital mutilation by advancing universal access to sexual and reproductive health, reinforcing the goal to end preventable maternal deaths. Our Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Mamacare360 Midwives work daily to protect the health, wellbeing, childhoods, education and ambitions of our girls and women, within the primary healthcare centres, households, schools and communities to engage families and focus on gender equality. Through safe space counselling during our Mamacare 360 programme, we are able to detect and support FGM survivors, and provide the opportunity to break the cycle by using education and awareness to urge mothers not to subject their daughters to this harmful practice. We must all continue to come together to accelerate our efforts to achieve a safe Nigeria for all, and eliminate this harmful practice completely. #EndFGM #MenEndFGM

FROM February 6th, 2023

A thankful Maternal Monday today, with the gladdening news of the safe delivery of triplets to a Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Mamacare 360 Antenatal Classes family in Ilorin, Kwara State! When I founded the WBFA in 2004, it was to improve maternal, newborn and child survival outcomes in Kwara and Nigeria, and now in 2023 this delivery is a testimony to the carefully intersected and integrated program offerings we provide. From home-based health records empowering information and data, to every child-bearing woman receiving free and monthly educational midwifery maternity ANC care, to delivery by highly skilled health professionals trained in emergency obstetric care, to early and exclusive induction of lactation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with the expression and administration of buccal colostrum and opportunities for kangaroo care bonding, I am immensely appreciative for our decades long productive partnership with the General Hospital Ilorin, and the tertiary University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, and for the dedicated and diligent duties of our Wellbeing Foundation Africa Midwives and State Project Team. I hope and pray that father, mother and the babies continue to thrive, Amen. #Alaafia #AlaafiaKwara #KwaraWellbeing #CommittedToCaring  

FROM February 4th, 2023

On World Cancer Day, I am joining my Wellbeing Foundation Africa in advocating for comprehensive healthcare which prioritises cancer innovation, early detection, prevention, treatment and support to make the world a healthier place. According to the WHO, globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths are due to cancer, with an estimated 70% of all cancer deaths occurring in the Global South, making it the leading cause of death worldwide. Though over 40% of all cancers are preventable, a lack of access to essential health services, healthier behaviours, regular screening, and cancer education and care means that many are denied a timely diagnosis and treatment - furthering the equity gap as most disadvantaged groups are also more likely to have increased exposures to a host of risk factors, like tobacco, an unhealthy diet or environmental hazards. According to my Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Amref Health Africa’s landmark 2018 Rapid Assessment of Cancer Care in Nigeria - which guided Nigeria’s policymakers in formulating National Cancer Strategy and Registries - the burden and trend of non-communicable diseases - including cancer - is on the increase in Nigeria. That is why myself and WBFA continue to bridge the gap, empower and support organisations and activations such as the LSTM News Co-Creation Workshop to identity the gaps, the needs, and barriers in Midwifery, Oncology and Mental Health nursing in Nigeria, the Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre and Specialist Hospital, The Bricon Foundation, Medicaid Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Walk with WHO Nigeria, as we continue to work toward and emphasise the importance of achieving the UN, The Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030. With 19.3 million new cases of cancer this past year, each and every one of us can contribute to creating a health community that will make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer; because change begins with a ripple and ends with a wave. #CloseTheCareGap #GlobalGoals  

FROM January 30th, 2023

Act now. Act together. Invest in Neglected Tropical Diseases.   World Neglected Tropical Disease Day brings heightened awareness to the need for immediate sustainable financing, and country accountability of #NTDs which are widespread in the developing world affecting the most vulnerable populations and regions, but are since controlled or eradicated in the developed world, to accelerate progress towards the World Health Organization NTD road map targets by 2030.   Though NTDs affect 1.7 billion people worldwide, and account for 57 million disability-adjusted life-years lost, the lack of awareness and concerted global action to tackle this diverse group of 20 conditions prevalent in tropical areas, disproportionately affecting women and children in impoverished communities have led to very little funding and international attention. These diseases, many of which are vector-borne, have animal reservoirs and complex life-cycles, making their public health control challenging, are “neglected” as they are almost always absent from the global health agenda and are associated with stigma and social exclusion.  Prevalent in areas where the understanding of #WASH, #nutrition and #onehealth are inadequate, these diseases of neglected populations perpetuate a cycle of poverty, poor health outcomes and limited economic opportunity. Nigeria is one of the most endemic countries in the world for NTDs, with an estimated 100 million people in the country at-risk for at least one NTD, and accounting for about 25% of the burden of NTDs in Africa.  Through my Wellbeing Foundation Africa programmes, we are #100PercentCommitted to beating NTDs; and in my advocacy withThe END Fund, I have witnessed firsthand how grassroots collective action and programming strengthen public health measures and disease surveillance, allowing for the upskilling of local health workers, accessible treatment, and community behavioural change to effectively control, eliminate and eradicate #NTDs.  The new World Health Organization progress report released, entitled “Global report on neglected tropical diseases 2023” highlights that we have the tools to save lives, prevent suffering and make 2023 the year to shine a spotlight on investing in universal care to end these diseases that are entirely preventable.  Equity in access, equity in care and equity in recognition are needed to #BeatNTDs.  

FROM January 26th, 2023

It was a great privilege to host and introduce the WHO Foundation Health Emergencies: Stories from the Frontline of a Climate Crisis Reception with Anil Soni, Chief Executive Officer at WHO Foundation, joined by Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Executive Chair, Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition, Emi Mahmoud, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Kamal Ahmed, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder The News Movement, and Vanina Laurent-Ledu, President of the Foundation S - The Sanofi Collective, at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. Using the power of storytelling, and showcasing the talent, creativity, and innovation from two regions at the frontline of a health and climate crisis in the greater Horn of Africa and the Sahel, we explored the impact climate change has on global health, from starvation to disease.  As the WHO Foundation’s Inaugural Ambassador for Global Health, and Special Advisor, Independent Advisory Group, WHO Africa Regional Office, I aim to raise awareness and tackle the particular challenges Africa and Nigeria face in global health situations by using my experience and network to mobilise a key opportunity for private sector leadership and resource procurement.  I am supporting the WHO and its work on the ground as they increase the capacity of health workers, prevent the spread of disease, provide essential medicines and emergency nutrition, vaccinations, and set up mobile health centres for people forced to leave their homes.  Currently more  than 60 million people across 13 countries in the greater Horn of Africa and the Sahel face extreme hunger or are in need of life-saving assistance - some countries are facing the worst drought in a generation, while others are coping with dramatic flooding. The emergency is heightened across both regions by conflict and a sharp rise in global food and fuel prices, linked to the war in Ukraine. The situation is already dire and fast deteriorating. In my own country of Nigeria, many were displaced by devastating floods, and during that time Nigerians had no choice but to use floodwaters as drinking water, despite the risk of contracting diarrheal diseases, including cholera from contaminated water. At this moment nearly 1.5 million infants and children alone are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and with 1.3 million people displaced - there is a growing and heightened risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition. WHO has responded by rapidly providing emergency health kits for 900,000 people, deploying mobile health teams that are delivering emergency nutrition, medicines, vaccines, and health care in many displacement camps with particular support for children, pregnant and lactating women.  Through supporting and advocating for the WHO Foundation’s Emergency Appeal for the greater Horn of Africa and the Sahel Regions, we can tackle this escalating crisis through collective and agile action, as WHO and its partners in the region must be empowered to respond immediately and comprehensively through various resources for the utmost impact. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa shares the WHO Foundation and WHO mission to ensure that health is for all, and that where you are born should not determine how you live. They exist to ensure that the resources and partners needed to achieve this mission are mobilised, assisting WHO to carry out life-saving work and supporting countries and communities around the world with climate-resilient healthcare. It is crucial we continue to amplify the inspiring voices of the people addressing injustice and affecting change in their communities, to improve the health and wellbeing of the people and places they love. Global health needs us all, from every country, to work as one. We must all dedicate ourselves to keeping the world safe, and advocate for the protection of the most vulnerable. By working together, we can change the lives of future generations.

FROM January 10th, 2023

Delighted to usher in new year workstream with the long awaited news that Nigeria's Mental Health Bill harmonised by both Chambers of the 9th National Assembly in 2021 has received Presidential Assent.
Intended to protect persons with mental health needs, and establish a National Department for Mental and Substance Abuse Services for effective management of mental health in Nigeria and other related matters, this legislative milestone provides a structural pathway for the enhancement and regulation of mental health and substance abuse services and cast aside the challenges that perpetuate the social stigma of the victims of mental illness.I commend the diligent and dedicated efforts of Distinguished Senator Dr Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe of Kwara Central, and 9th Senate Committee on Health Chairman, whose sponsorship of the Mental Health Act and Law which replaces the archaic and outdated Lunacy Act of 1958, as a great victory for mental health care, practice, and outcomes of wellbeing in Nigeria. Decades of advocacy and programming by my Wellbeing Foundation Africa to transform the availability and quality of behavioural health services, alongside advocacy stakeholders affirm that transforming mental health legislation is crucial for protecting the rights of a vulnerable section of society, ensuring community integration, a high provision and quality of care, and allowing for the improvement of access to resources at a grassroots level and beyond. Knowing that the 3 areas most likely to make the most significant contribution to Nigeria attaining the United Nations SDGs are mental health, oncology and maternal newborn health, we look forward to further collaboration across all sectors of Nigeria to implement and domesticate this transformative mental health legislation, making it a national priority to help improve the behavioural health outcomes of Nigeria, and safeguard the care of all Nigerian people for generations to come.  

FROM December 8th, 2022

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone else planted a tree long ago. - Warren Buffett This #ThrowbackThursday I am reflecting on the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy in 2013, where I discussed the importance of purposeful giving, and how the actions of one person can make a difference in the outcome of many lives alongside Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Reproductive health care, more than most issues, has been enormously shaped by individual billionaire philanthropists. Many of the critical breakthroughs in the field were philanthropy-funded, as are many basic services today around the world. Bill Gates, through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Warren Buffett, through the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation are two of the biggest philanthropists, and leading providers of access to contraception worldwide. The Gates Foundation empowers women and girls to take charge of their own health, enabling them to make informed decisions about family planning and have access to contraceptive options that meet their needs, to reach the longer-term goal of universal access to voluntary family planning. The Buffett Foundation is the leading provider of family planning access for poor women in the U.S, and the the most influential supporter of expanding access to and conducting research on the contraceptive. Philanthropy is essential for reproductive health care, as foundations, including my Wellbeing Foundation Africa can decentralise the definition and distribution of public health goods from the government, operate on a longer time scale than many businesses in the marketplace and elected officials in public institutions, and create frontline trusted programming which educate and influence community behavioural change to meet better health outcomes and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. If you're in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent. - Warren Buffett 📸📹: Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, 2013

FROM December 5th, 2022

Healthy soils are the basis for healthy and nutritious food: it all starts in soils, where food begins! While at the recent #COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, I took the opportunity to update my knowledge of agriculture and food security at the first-ever food systems pavilion, and with the Islamic Development Bank, both who shined a spotlight on the foundation of life on land. The pavilion, and Adaptation and Agriculture Day at #AfricaCOP represented an extensive and important opportunity to ensure that the health of the planet’s soil, and with it, all the nutritional, ecosystem, and climate benefits soil provides is considered by policymakers in discussions, and led to a new United Nations agreement on a four-year plan and initiative aimed at scaling up finance to transform agriculture by 2030. Alongside this, in my discussions with Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of the Islamic Development Bank Group’s international trade financing arm, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), and Acting CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), I was pleased to learn that since its inception, the Bank has approved a total of US$12.3 billion for investment projects in agriculture and rural development across its 57 member countries, including the Nigerian states of Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun, and Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with the ISDB and the Government of Nigeria recently signing a US$150 million financing agreement for a flagship project that provides extensive support to the country’s food security. As part of a mega co-financing effort for the launching of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) Project in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the project aims to support poverty alleviation, stimulate sustainable activities for low-income households, and enhance the competitiveness of the agriculture sector through the promotion of select value chains in the country. In addition to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), SAPZ Program will cover seven other states namely Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun, and Oyo, while the ISDB Project will cover FCT, Kano, and Kwara States, towards (i) development of infrastructure for 3 Agro-Industrial Processing Hubs (AIHs); (ii) 10 Agricultural Transformation Centers (ATCs); (iii) improvement of irrigated land & farm to market access roads; (iv) supply of certified agricultural inputs and extension services; (v) skills development for 10,000 farmers and MSMEs; and (vi) updating agro-industrial zone policy and establishment of a regulatory institution/special regulatory regime. Expected outcomes are: (i) increasing investments by private sector companies within the AIHs by US$375 million; (ii) creating 185,000 new jobs, including 50% for women and 50% for youth; (iii) increasing the yields of key crops by at least 50%; (iv) reducing post-harvest losses within the catchment area by at least 10-20%; and (v) increasing in the income of small producers/farmers by 25%. Once operational, the project will support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development and enhance the competitiveness of the agriculture sector through the promotion of select value chains. The Agriculture and Rural Development department develops and implements the Bank’s strategy, assistance framework, plan of action and work program in the agriculture and rural development sector. Its mission is to promote sustainable, inclusive, integrated and equitable agriculture and rural development that supports the modernization of food systems, enhances food security and increases the resilience of populations through efficient natural resources management, and increased productivity and connectivity. The Project will contribute to Nigeria's effort in achieving its SDG targets, specifically on the following: SDG1, SDG2, SDG5, SDG9, SDG12, SDG13 & SDG17. Nigeria became a member of the IsDB Group in 2005. The country is a key beneficiary of the IsDB financing in Africa with a total portfolio of approved operations amounting to US$ 1.8 billion. IsDB Group's financial support for Nigeria is diverse, covering broad sectors of the economy. Agriculture infrastructure projects account for 29 % of IsDB's financing for Nigeria, followed by health (18%), transportation (17%), and water (15%), among others. The Bank also has a solid pipeline of projects to be processed between 2022 and 2023. Over the last 70 years, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has drastically decreased, and it is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from lack of micronutrients, known as #hiddenhunger, with about two-thirds of the world's population at risk of deficiency in one or more essential mineral elements. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa has long worked to combat nutrition deficiencies and educate families and communities through our historical Alive and Thrive and Mamacare+NLift iterations,, as well as current LOORS-Zinc programming because we know that impact in health and social development is most keenly felt and measured at the household level in improving daily nutrition and food security. This #WorldSoilDay2022, we must immediately take action to prevent and reverse nutrient imbalances in agri-food systems, as soil plays a key role in all four dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilisation and stability. #WorldSoilDay #Soils4Nutrition #MaternalMonday

FROM November 30th, 2022

Yesterday, I marked the 3rd Anniversary of the Nairobi Summit on the International Conference on Population and Development #ICPD25 with the National Population Commission  and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the theme “Sexual and Reproductive Justice as the Vehicle to Deliver the Nairobi Summit Commitments.” As the Nigeria Representative Member of the ICPD25 High Level Commission International Steering Committee and as UNFPA Nigeria Family Planning Champion, I was delighted to deliver a goodwill message and keynote presentation on the Wellbeing Foundation Africa 2019-2022 Progress Impact Report towards the 3 zeros of: zero unmet needs for family planning and services, zero preventable maternal and infant deaths, zero sexual and gender-based violence. I was pleased to join Mallam Isa Kwarra, Chairman National Population Commission, Ms Ulla Mueller, UNFPA Resident Representative, H.E. Sune Krogstrup, Denmark Ambassador, H.E. Samuel Mogere, Charges D'Affaires, Kenya High Commission, Ambassadors of Namibia and Madagascar, Mr Mathias Schmale, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr Ejike Orji, Chair, Association of Advancement For Family Planning, the National Youth Service Corps Representatives, and Representatives of the Honorable Ministers of Women Affairs, Health, and Sports and Youth Development respectively - in launching the National Action Plan for Nairobi Commitment, and the Launch of The High Level Commission 2022 Report on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-Up. Alongside WBFA Programs Director Dr Franco Apiyanteide, I affirmed that the Wellbeing Foundation continues to prioritise the most amplified issues from the summit; having a global impact that advocates for women, children and families, through empowering and educating #frontline health workers while increasing accessibility to #healthcare, #SHRH and #WASH.

FROM November 28th, 2022

As International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women last Friday marked the launch of the United Nations UNiTE campaign led by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNWomen, I commit to standing in solidarity and taking action this 16 days of activism in hopes to further prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, call for global action to increase awareness, and create opportunities for discussion on solutions to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5: gender equality and empower all women and girls. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations today. For many women and girls in Nigeria, home, school and communities remain unsafe, despite violence in all forms being preventable. Almost one in three women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, with one in four girls, including very young ones, experiencing sexual violence, in Nigeria. The Wellbeing Africa Foundation is targeting this worrying data and trend through our various programming, by raising awareness, educating families and influencing positive community behavioural change. Our midwives and nurses promote a culture that does not tolerate any form of violence and break down the stigma attached to the social norms which allow this behaviour to go unspoken and unpunished. Through the safe, brave and supportive spaces WBFA creates, we are contributing to the fulfilment of women’s and girls’ human rights and to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Violence cuts across all generations, cultures, levels of education, income, religion and backgrounds. We must all join to act and ensure we leave no woman or girl behind by adopting adequate laws and legislation, addressing harmful gender norms, and providing comprehensive access to health resources and services for justice. Let us unite, take a stand, and raise our voices in support of women and girls’ rights. #16Days #OrangeTheWorld

FROM November 3rd, 2022

Each of us has a choice about how we respond to the extraordinary times in which we find ourselves. Each of us can see differently, act differently, and change things for the better. Saying nothing and doing nothing is unacceptable as the courageous women and girls of Iran, their families and their allies are rightfully demanding their basic fundamental human rights. We can all stand in solidarity at this critical moment, joining leaders in the international community to vocally and unequivocally demonstrate support for women’s rights in the demand that the Islamic Republic of Iran is suspended from the @UnitedNations #CSW Commission on the Status for Women, a governing body that needs to maintain credibility for it to serve women and girls worldwide, until and when the rights of women and girls are restored, respected and upheld. The arc of the social justice universe is long, but can be extended to reach the guarantee for rights for women and girls everywhere. Be part of the unity of change; join me in signing this declaration. Woman. Life. Freedom. In solidarity with Iranian women and girls, today. bit.ly/IRIoffCSW #Zan #Zendegi #Azadi #WomenLifeFreedom #IRIoffCSW

FROM October 31st, 2022

In my Goodwill Statement to Africa Reach, on whose Leadership Council I am honoured to serve, I stated that "the milestone of Zimbabwe becoming the first African nation to approve injectable PrEP prophylaxis for HIV post-exposure infection prevention is a highly welcomed breakthrough moment. A truly significant step in the right direction in delivering accessible and equitable treatment and prevention, breaking down systemic barriers, and addressing the unmet needs of the HIV burden."

"Currently 90% of all children living with HIV globally are located in Africa, and nearly two thirds of all new cases of HIV occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, with women and the girl child in this region bearing the disproportionate load of the HIV epidemic. Each and every person deserves optimal treatment and the opportunity to live a healthy life to its full potential. I look forward to the positive impact of injectable PrEP for Africa and in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Prevention remains one of the most important interventions in the HIV response, and I am grateful to join the Chair of Africa REACH, First Lady of Namibia Her Excellency Monica Geingos to expand and strengthen HIV programming across Africa as we advocate and work towards bringing the #PediatricAIDS conversation to the fore. The Africa REACH initiative brings together the most powerful elements of African political structures, cultural influence and generational leadership to create a new action agenda around ending AIDS in children and youth in Africa. As we fight to end the AIDS pandemic, I look forward to welcoming the long awaited advancement of injectable PrEP to Nigeria, where we have over an estimated 1.9 million people living with HIV and AIDs to ensure health and wellbeing for all.

FROM October 30th, 2022

I have noticed over the years that the spread of fake news tends to rise in Nigeria ahead of general election cycles, of which the next is expected to take place in 2023. While many journalists report that it can be difficult to verify information from prominent figures, that is no excuse for malicious fiction to be presented as fact. I was disappointed and perturbed this week, to learn that some unscrupulous politically motivated individuals and digitally networked elements were deliberately and maliciously circulating a sensationally lurid video virally across Nigerian messaging and multimedia platforms - defamatorily alleging that it depicted a member of my family - in a coordinated and totally false negative disinformation and misinformation publication campaign of particularly vicious virulence. Knowing without any shadow of a doubt, that no member of my family could ever engage in such unsavoury conduct, I must appreciate the calls, goodwill messages, prayers from sensible, reasonable and intelligent Nigerians, who have assured that they condemn and firmly discountenance this latest episode of a perplexingly obsessive negative campaign of lies and calumny. While the apparent subject of the video has been identified and confirmed as not being a member of my immediate family, I do still enjoin the appropriate agencies to vigorously investigate the provenance and defamatorily circulatory sources of the video, in order to signal a firm cease and desist caution to the agents of calumny, and their directors, who truly should be impelled to recognise the appalling dangers that false news, misinformation and disinformation pose to statecraft, human decency and the collective wellbeing of society and the nation. Many people have had incredibly dangerous lies published about them, and the best they could do was phone around to all their friends and well-wishers and assure them that the stories were completely false. As cybercriminals evolve, through the dishonourable nature of those who, in exchange for lucre, propagate false and unsavoury fiction, I do believe that it's critical to counter their past, present and probable future cyberthreat tactics.

FROM October 28th, 2022

Displaced by devastating floods, Nigerians are forced to use floodwater despite cholera risk - Climate emergencies are a humanitarian and health crisis which affect us all. As Nigeria experiences complex and unpredictable climate risks which have led to extreme weather events such as the flooding in 34 out of the 36 states in the country, the compounding of existing vulnerabilities and inequities is putting millions of our people at immediate risk for disease, famine and death. More than 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in urgent need of structured humanitarian assistance, 60% of which are children, and with 1.3 million people displaced, there is a growing and heightened risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition. The rise in cases of cholera is particularly worrisome as the WHO recently warned of the shortage of cholera vaccines, due to a strained global supply during a time of unprecedented rise in outbreaks worldwide, leading to the temporary suspension of the two-dose strategy. According to UNICEF’s Children's Climate Risk Index CCRI, Nigeria is now considered at 'extremely high risk' of the impacts of climate change, ranking second out of 163 countries. Children of 'extremely high risk' countries often face exposure to multiple climate and environmental shocks, paired with underlying child vulnerability, which my Wellbeing Foundation Africa midwives, nurses and healthcare teams are working daily on the frontline to mitigate by providing essential grassroots community-based Mamacare360 Maternity programming and intensified WASH services through our Reckitt, Dettol Nigeria, WBFA Hygiene Quest Curricula. The burden of climate-related health risks is inequitably and unequally distributed, and its worsening impacts are increasingly affecting the foundations and pillars of human health and wellbeing. Looking ahead, I welcome the African Summit which will be held alongside COP27 at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in November, to dedicate financing sustainable development projects from the three climate commissions of the African Union (Congo Basin, Sahel Region and Island States). Climate change is the biggest health threat facing humanity, and if we do not address it immediately and scale-up response and recovery, it will potentially undo the last fifty years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction, while severely jeopardising the realisation of Universal Health Coverage.

FROM October 27th, 2022

As the 2022 Progress Report on the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health (2016-2030) is released, I am reminded of my personal efforts, and my Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s commitment and support for the initiative since 2011, that has guided, conceived, birthed and delivered so many impactful frontline programs, to protect the promise and protect the progress of the United Nations Global Strategy #EWEC. At this mid-point of actions towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development #SDGs, we face growing barriers and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic destabilising access and availability of health services for nearly three years, a global climate emergency and various conflict zones - suddenly widening the gap of inequities that primarily impact the most vulnerable: women, children and adolescents, from maternal mortality to malnutrition. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa will continue to prioritise, sustaining health investments and programming, particularly primary healthcare systems, improving food supply, collaborating across sectors including partnerships with the private sector, and advocating for the protection and promotion of gender equality - to reach and safeguard the rights and wellbeing of every woman, child and young person while addressing losses and building concrete progress to ensure we create a world where all have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

FROM October 25th, 2022

As World Polio Day passed yesterday, I reflected on how through global unity and commitment we have achieved a 99.9% decrease in polio cases since the 1988 World Health Organisation landmark resolution for the worldwide eradication of polio that was adopted at the 41st World Health Assembly. In 2020 Africa was certified as free of indigenous wild polio, and while our progress is commendable, new outbreaks do continue to occur, reminding us that our efforts to deliver on the eradication of all forms of polio everywhere, is necessary, as until then no child is safe anywhere. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is committed to the international cooperation needed to protect innocent children from diseases, particularly polio, and empowers our on the field health care workers, including WBFA midwives and nurses to administer and achieve this humanitarian goal. Trusted frontline advocacy and education is necessary to overcome vaccine hesitancy, lack of access and misinformation. I was encouraged to see the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s GPEI 2022-2026 Strategy highlighted at the 2022 World Health Summit earlier this month, and that the polio pledging event will fund the roadmap and strategy to a healthier world for all children and mothers. Going ‘beyond’ while we build on our current investments will ensure no other life is lost to a preventable disease, and that life-saving services will enable mothers to have a positive experience of their pregnancy and young children to achieve their full developmental potential. A big thank you to all the dedicated health care staff who safeguard every eligible child from polio, and continue to vaccinate despite significant challenges. 📸 At Lugbe PHC, Abuja, 2018 - I like to personally attend African Vaccination Week which takes place every year in April, at any of our Mamacare HCF locations when I can, to build confidence and trust for the oral polio vaccine.

FROM October 21st, 2022

During Breast Cancer Awareness month I am highlighting the importance of #frontline community midwifery to improve early detection and proactive behaviour against breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide, and in Nigeria, it accounts for 22.7% of all new cancer cases among women. In 2018,  the Wellbeing Foundation Africa undertook a whole-country Rapid Cancer Assessment Research and Report in collaboration with partners Amref Health Africa, supported by Takeda International of Japan, the findings of which were presented to the Federal Ministry of Health. As the statistics prove, cancer is a personal story for everyone. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa #midwives play a vital role through the trusting relationships they build with women and their superior knowledge and skills for recognising early signs. Through our midwifery-led MamaCare 360 Frontline Antenatal and Postnatal Education we reach women with the evidence-based self-care tools and practice to improve individual and family health outcomes. Earlier this year myself and the WBFA team welcomed Laura Nels, Director JNJ Community Health Africa, and LSTM Global Programs Director, Dr. Charles Ameh to Abuja and Lagos - engaging with the Federal Ministry of Health, LSTM, Medicaid Foundation, The Real Visionaries and Johnson & Johnson Global Health  and nationwide RMNCAH, Midwifery and Nursing Stakeholders at The Co-Creation Workshop: Understanding The Challenges and Gaps in Oncology Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Midwifery Education In Nigeria. Together, we focused on building health workers’ capacity to provide specialised oncology services, midwifery, and mental health care, as it is essential to providing life-saving care to patients in healthcare facilities across Nigeria and to achieving SDG3.   WBFA endorses the holistic recommendations of the WHO Cancer Report calling upon governments to strengthen and invest in cancer services, including prevention, screening, building capacities in health systems, training and retraining of relevant health workers such as midwives and ensuring palliative care for all by further connecting Primary Health Care facilities and cancer centres. We may not cure breast cancer today, but we can contribute to the battle against it by bringing awareness and getting checked! #FrontlineFriday #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth

FROM October 17th, 2022

As I mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today and reflect on World Food Day which took place yesterday, the message has never been clearer: no one should be left behind, and dignity for all must be achieved. The increase of interconnectedness through our globalised world represents a chain of attachment and impact which require the implementation of holistic solutions to develop long term inclusive resilience for food security, health systems and climate adaptation to ensure multidimensional poverty is addressed, and peace, protection of the planet and prosperity are sustainably established #SDGs. Since founding the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in 2004, we have worked to improve health and wellbeing outcomes through dedicated frontline health, nutrition and education programming and agrifood advocacy to combat malnutrition and tackle inequities, believing that to #feedthefuture and #GrowNigeria, every person deserves the opportunity to #thrive. Around the world, families are suffering the domino effects of challenges that know no borders, with the consequences of COVID-19, inequality, conflict, and the climate crisis, such as the current Nigeria floods - an overwhelming disaster that is ruining the agriculture and natural resources needed for the survival of many. With the extreme rains in Nigeria leaving 600 killed and 1 million more displaced, global solidarity is immediately needed to build a sustainable world where everyone, everywhere has regular access to enough nutritious food, and that we deliver on our commitments to social justice, ending poverty, healing our planet and the empowerment of the marginalised. It is our shared responsibility to eradicate poverty, combat all forms of discrimination and prioritise the right of all people to food, nutrition and equality with dignity for all in practice. #EndPoverty #IDEP2022 #GlobalGoals  

 
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FROM October 14th, 2022

I am delighted today to welcome our health, education, water, climate and environment partners and national stakeholders at the commencement of our new community of healthy hygiene practice at national scale. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa partnership with Reckitt and Dettol Nigeria, in progression of our Clean Nigeria Initiative Commitments endorsed by the Ministry of Water Resources, is pleased to announce the launch of our Hygiene Quest Project, a comprehensive hygiene curriculum and strategic programme designed to promote and implement proper handwashing and water sanitation and hygiene techniques, including reducing open defecation in schools, healthcare facilities across our #Mamacare360 Antenatal and Postnatal Maternity Centres, and corresponding Cluster Communities through Abuja, Lagos and Kwara States. As we commence this important project, currently 23% of the Nigerian population still practices open defecation, with less than 8% of the population in Nigeria being able to access and practice safe handwashing. Therefore our interactive and engaging approach aims to tackle these challenges sustainably through grassroots core education, access and training. Escalating and cascading our shared efforts ahead of Global Handwashing Day this week, our union for universal hand hygiene is accelerating the Hygiene Quest outcome and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, while journeying to reach 6 million children in Nigeria by 2025. Handwashing is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa looks forward to scaling access to quality personal social health and hygiene education and information in schools, communities and within healthcare facilities, with Reckitt and Dettol Nigeria through Hygiene Quest, to drive lasting community behavioral change, and create a healthier and more equitable society for all. Data: UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping Report, WASH Norm 2021 #WashforWellbeing💦 #SDG2030#UniteforUniversalHandHygiene #WashYourHands#HandHygieneForAll

FROM October 11th, 2022

At #WISH2022 I had the privilege to participate in timely discussions regarding mental health and wellbeing, while assessing the implications of the pandemic. Today on #WorldMentalHealthDay, and with the evidence-based research from WISH Qatar and the Qatar Foundation, we have a powerful opportunity to revitalize our efforts to protect and improve mental health for all. #Mentalhealth does not discriminate and requires investment in financing, training, policy and legislation, research and advocacy. Speaking to H.H. Sayyida Basma Al Said, Founder Serenity Muscat, we must raise awareness and take action to build the capacity for health, education and social protection, particularly in early childhood development, and ensure the resources not only exist but are accessible. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa targets public standards for promotion, prevention, treatment and wellbeing policies for childbearing women and their families through our HCF, schools and communities based Mamacare360 Maternity and Primary & Adolescent #PSHE #WASH programming which provide opportunities for safe space conversations, and referrals, with our professional midwives, nurses and coaches. As I continue to advocate for rights-based, multisectoral legislation, plans and policies, I dearly wish that Presidential Assent for the Nigeria #MentalHealthBill will soon be forthcoming, especially as it is believed over 40% of Nigerians are suffering in silence. As this barrier to accessing mental health services remains a challenge compounded by cases of post traumatic stress compounded by the ongoing instability and insecurity in regions due to insurgency, kidnapping and attacks; now is the time to strengthen mental health care provisions and protections, through a community-based network of accessible, affordable and quality services and supports. We must deepen the value and commitment we give to mental health as individuals, communities and governments, and work with stakeholders to create a world in which everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health.

FROM October 6th, 2022

This week I have been delighted to join the World Innovation Summit for Health 2022, an initiative of the Qatar Foundation, held in Doha this year, as a speaker, moderator and participant. Born through the need to convene global experts to look for collaborative and innovative solutions to tackle global health challenges – WISH Qatar and the Qatar Foundation are inspiring drivers of change, dedicated to uplifting community development for all, established and invested in evidence-based ideas and practice. As a moderator, I had the pleasure of joining H.E. Jeannette Kagame – First Lady, Rwanda, H.E. Fatima Maada Bio – First Lady, Sierra Leone, and H.E. Vivian Torrij – Former First Lady, Panama, for an invigorating conversation on Child and Maternal Health which assessed the global efforts on reducing maternal mortality and newborn deaths, to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, through collaborative scientific research, trusted frontline work, and policy reform. As a panellist, I had the great opportunity of Promoting Child Wellbeing: Lessons from COVID-19 alongside H.H. Sayyida Basma Al Said, Founder, Whispers of Serenity Clinic, Oman Professor Muhammad Waqar Azeem, Inaugural Chair of Psychiatry/Child Psychiatry Sidra Medicine, Victoria Hornby, CEO, Mental Health Innovations, UK and Moderated by Luisa Baldini of BBC. We discussed in-depth the long-term psychosocial and mental health implications for our children and adolescents due to the disruption of the pandemic, and how we can mitigate and address the adverse effects of the pandemic and draw out lessons for policymakers across the globe. We must embolden our children, while we catalyse investment, from health literacy, programming and policy to begin and protect from birth to age, addressing their unique needs and resources at every phase in life.

FROM October 1st, 2022

Happy #IndependenceDay! 🇳🇬 Today marks the 62nd anniversary of Nigeria's proclamation of independence from British rule on 1 October 1960. In 1914, the Southern Nigeria Protectorate was combined with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to create the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, which has the borders of modern-day Nigeria. By the late 1950s, the call for independence of territories in Africa, and the affirmation of the Nigeria Independence Bill at the House of Commons on 15 July 1960 led to Nigeria being granted independence on 1 October 1960 as the Federation of Nigeria. Three years later, the constitution was amended and the country was declared the Federal Republic of Nigeria with Nnamdi Azikiwe, previously Governor-General, as the first President. On this historic day in 1960, Lieutenant David Ejoor, who later became the Chief of Army Staff, had the honor of commanding the guard at the midnight flag raising ceremony. On 1st October 1960 #Nigeria entered its new status of independence, not after commotion and strife as some other colonial territories had done, but rather after practical experience of the federal system which we decided to adopt, and with general agreement, to maintain, wishing to be independent and to be democratic and also incorporated into our Constitution a carefully drawn up Bill of Rights. Nigeria willingly accepted a Parliamentary system with reasonable and natural adaptations to our own traditions, including, as an essential part of parliamentary democracy, that there should always be a respected and vigorous opposition, freely and fully entitled to express their point of view. Let's renew our vision with replenished hopes and prayers for Nigeria, the most populous nation in the continent of Africa's extraordinary diversity and unity in race, in religion and in social and economic development.

FROM September 29th, 2022

Transformative solutions to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. #UNGA has consistently been the principal multilateral diplomatic setting for global cooperation from climate goals, to health equity, but as inequality worsens, exemplified by the repression of women from Ukraine to Iran; it is clear that the impacts of crises are never gender-neutral, and that there is still much to be achieved regarding women and girls recovery, resilience and representation. Preventing and ending violence against women and girls while improving equity require women’s leadership, prompt pledges and direct resources devoted to achieving a sustainable future where all women and girls are safe with opportunity. Therefore I am grateful that the newly created United Nations General Assembly Platform of Women Leaders is now established to place gender equality at the forefront of this multilateral arena. As the 77th United Nations General Assembly comes to a close, I appreciate my Global Office’s attendance, as my full executive and representative emissaries, a delegation that is strengthening collaborations and work with longstanding allies and taking part in complex and timely deliberations, which inform our humanitarian agenda for the coming year. As we face interlocking challenges, it is crucial for the woman and girl child perspective to be prioritised effectively, decisively and inclusively, and in the Decade of Action, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is committed to achieving #SDG4 and advocating for the human rights of women and girls around the world, as we embolden them, improve access to services, strengthen laws and policies, to ensure accountability and transparency.    

FROM September 24th, 2022

September 2022: Youth-driven design and research nonprofit YLabs and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with the Wellbeing Foundation Africa announced the Children, Cities, and Climate Action Lab (CCC Action Lab) commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative’s September 2022 meeting in New York City. In further collaboration with, C40, and Urban Better, the CCC Action Lab is an initiative to accelerate healthy decarbonization in cities through youth leadership and action. The world is currently on track for catastrophic levels of warming that threaten to undermine the health of people everywhere, especially amongst the most vulnerable. 

  • There are 6.7M estimated annual deaths due to air pollution and air pollution kills more children annually than malaria and diarrhea combined (Lancet, 2022).
  • Nearly 60% of the world’s population live in cities today, which will increase to 70% of 2050.
  • African cities are urbanizing most quickly, with 90% of the projected global urban growth between 2021-50 occurring. 
  • Many cities with severe climate change vulnerabilities also have the largest youth populations, who are rarely given a seat at the policy table to advocate for their futures in a changing world.
  • Cities’ carbon consumption drives both the global climate crisis (an estimated 70% of emissions come from cities) and a localized health crisis for urban residents, in the form of air pollution.
There is a critical opportunity to embed human health and climate considerations into how these cities grow. Young people’s voices and ideas need to shape the current dialogue, policy, and, most importantly, action. Working in target cities across Nigeria, the CCC Action Lab will:
  • Conduct cutting-edge modelling of the health benefits of decarbonization in each city and massive real-time social media surveys of young people’s experience of urban environmental hazards, building on CCC Action Lab’s Phase 1 research;
  • Conduct participatory workshops with young leaders and parents to harness youth voices and action in advocacy to city/national governments and set a course for action;
  • Provide evidence-driven, targeted technical assistance to focal cities that have demonstrated commitment to taking concrete regulatory and policy actions toward decarbonization and healthier urban environments. 
By putting young people in the lead, and with cutting-edge data as the fuel, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and CCC Action Lab will help ensure cities are livable, breathable places for everyone.  Media Contact: Zelia Bukhari, Global Health Advocacy and Communications Manager, Her Excellency Toyin Saraki’s Global Office  Email: zelia.bukhari@wbfafrica.org 

FROM September 23rd, 2022

100 years of working towards a world where every childbearing woman has access to a midwife's care for herself and her newborn! As the Inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador of the International Confederation of Midwives for two terms (2014-2020) I am thrilled to celebrate with #ICM as they mark their 100-year anniversary alongside the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York City. My Global Office Delegation attended the Centennial Commemoration and were elated to discuss and highlight the key achievements of #midwifery this past century, connect with incredible health partners and aid in developing the vision for the next 100 years. Addressing the unmet needs of women and their families must remain a constant priority, and my Wellbeing Foundation Africa Foundation will continue to empower our #frontline #midwives so they may efficiently #access, #educate, #counsel and #care for #mothers as trusted community health workers. #ThriveThursday #UNGA77

 
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FROM September 21st, 2022

End racism. Build peace. 
 As I mark #PeaceDay, I commend the UN Peacekeeping call to strengthen the ideals of peace to build communities where all are afforded equity and the opportunity to thrive. Persistent injustice due to bias, discrimination and racism hinders fundamental human rights, perpetuates unrest, undermining democracy. My Global Office is addressing this escalating crisis and pursuing peace at the 77th United Nations General Assembly this week, as they attend the Concordia Annual Summit and Devex #UNGA77 Halfway to 2030 today, advocating for the rights and dignity of people while building a practical pathway to a fairer world #SDGs. Inspired by the words of #flotus, the First Lady of the United States, Dr Jill Biden at the #ConcordiaSummit, and as direct conflict and animosity destabilize societies across the globe, with health and economic challenges surging, we must convene to dismantle the systemic barriers which hinder our progress towards equality, empathy and a peaceful planet as we are all connected.

FROM September 19th, 2022

The Power of Collective Collaboration: Transformative Solutions and Education for Change From the #frontlines to global impact, my teams are building solutions and transforming education. Yesterday, my Global Office continued my commitments at the 77th United Nations General Assembly, engaging with MIT Solve as social impact leaders, while my Kwara Office is advocating with Chevening FCDO to create an educated future; a Wellbeing Foundation Africa commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals progress. With a mission to drive innovation to solve pressing world challenges, I am honoured to be an MIT Solve judge for Equitable Health Systems. Positively affecting over 150 million lives to date, affordable, accessible, and high-quality health systems must serve all equitably. My Global Office shared their expertise on people-centred health infrastructure, from the ground up, mentoring Solvers and supporting innovative partnerships to improve health outcomes. This continued empowerment of transformation for the better took place on the ground today as well, as the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Kwara Office & British Deputy High Commission Courtesy Call to discuss the Chevening Scholarships Programme with Mr. Wale Adebajo, Political Advisor British High Commission in Nigeria, and the Chevening team as they introduce the program to Kwara State. Through our programmatic community work which has been supported by the High Commission and British Development Agencies over decades, we have expanded the opportunity to access learning skills, mobilising and elevating emerging Nigerian leaders. By solving together, we can tackle the issues of our rapidly changing world, promote education, and learn to live together sustainably.

FROM September 16th, 2022

As the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on Tuesday, I welcomed the words and targets of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opening remarks at the first full offline meeting since the pandemic's onset, calling for solidarity among member states to address common challenges, such as ensuring equity in healthcare. Global health and emergency response are a priority, as all Member States accelerate equitable progress toward implementing Universal Health Coverage by 2030 #UHC2030, to create a safer, fairer and healthier world. By demonstrating unity and solidarity, we can build new partnerships, share best practices and save lives. With frontline-focused dedication, integrity and authentic purpose, my global team will continue the multilateral discussions at #UNGA across the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. I look forward to the key decisions which will advance peace, human rights and sustainable development for all. #FrontlineFriday #ConcordiaSummit #WHOFoundation #PMNCH #ClintonFoundation #BusinessFightsPoverty #SDGAction #unitednations

 
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FROM September 10th, 2022

Today on World Suicide Prevention Day #WSPD, I commend the efforts of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and WHO in focusing attention on reducing stigma, raising awareness, and implementing support to prevent the rise of this serious global health concern. The profound grief and impact of this crisis affects the wellbeing of humanity, with an estimated 703,000 people a year taking their own lives around the world, and for every suicide, a likely 20 other people making an attempt, with many more having serious and dangerous thoughts. Through well-informed action, we can create supportive safe spaces which aim to inspire confidence and the light of hope in all ages. Suicide prevention is a priority public health agenda, especially as we aim to expand evidence-based programming and advocate for the accessibility of mental health services. I hope this is a reminder that there is always an alternative, and that together we can all create hope through action and #bethelight. #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

FROM September 9th, 2022

Inclusive, equitable and quality education is a human right which must be protected. On this International Day to Protect Education from Attack, and as International #LiteracyDay took place yesterday, I am highlighting the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity, and education to be safeguarded particularly for children and youth in conflict zones who remain among the most vulnerable. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa aims to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #SDG 4, and Safe School Declaration to secure a sustainable future and create a healthy society by implementing #frontline intervention through our Adolescent #PSHE #WASH programming which emphasises the role schools play in providing a safe space for children, where they can be protected from threats and crises, from conflict to health. Education and literacy are essential skills that save lives. Governments, private sector agencies, and humanitarian organisations must partner to provide secure and feasible measures to ensure access to safe education is rarely impeded. Only then can these transformed literacy learning spaces begin to break the cycle of inequality, hostility and poverty. #FrontlineFriday 📸 #FlashbackFriday Wellbeing Africa Schools Furniture, Textbooks and Learning Materials Empowerment Program Donations To 32 Primary and Secondary Schools in Kwara State, 2007.

FROM August 27th, 2022

It is with the greatest sadness that I learn of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen was a true and sovereign inspiration, the embodiment of unwavering duty, who truly exemplified the highest form of courage. Her powerful influence, ruling for longer than any other Monarch in British history has created an immeasurable impact which continuously rings true to the noble motto “I Serve”. As a young woman, I recall meeting Her Majesty and being enchanted by her devotion, passion and care for all. The example and continuity she set as a profoundly respected leader will be deeply missed, but I know her legacy will set a high benchmark for monarchic service and continue to embolden future generations. My thoughts and prayers are with people across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, and may Almighty God strengthen and comfort the Royal Family during this solemn and distinguished hour. “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” Her Majesty The Queen, on her 21st Birthday, 1947

FROM August 25th, 2022

Today I had the pleasure of joining the 13th International Conference on the Maternal Child Health Handbook, alongside Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Akishino, WHO Special Advisor to the Director General, Prof. Peter Singer, Prof. Miriam Khamadi Were, UNICEF, UNFPA, healthcare, policymakers and research representatives from Nigeria, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Ghana, to mention a few, with a focus on promoting health equity and making mothers feel like visible primary partners in their and their child's health journey. Since 2006, when the WBFA committed its efforts to the development and deployment of home-based health records and handbooks in Nigeria and Africa, we have tenaciously held to the mission that accurate and accessible health information both educates, guides and delivers measurable benefits for every woman, child and family. The #MCH Handbook is a home-based health record and information tool which supports women throughout their pregnancy, delivery, and postnatal period, extending to the first few years of the child's life. Introduced in more than 30 countries already, by empowering parents through being an accessible source of information, the handbook bridges communications gaps between them and health professionals, emboldening them to be actively involved in the decision-making and management of their family’s health. A very intense sharing and learning experience, the conference is a powerful affirmation of the core vision of my Wellbeing Foundation Africa mission from inception. Ensuring the continuity of care and providing health education to families leads to social cohesion and holistic maternal and child care which is highly effective as prevention and protection. I look forward to continuing to discuss, strategise and champion the immediate prioritisation of attainable and equitable maternal care as the conference continues tomorrow, and I thank today’s moderator Dr. Shafi Bhuiyan MBBS, MPH, MBA, PhD and Prof. Yasuhide Nakamura for their organisation and guidance throughout the day! #MakingMeVisible #DallaLanaSchoolofPublicHealth #UofT

FROM August 24th, 2022

Yesterday on International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, as the world reflected on the tragedy of the slave trade, I am remembering and honoring those who campaigned for freedom and defied the cruelty of oppression. Sadly, modern slavery still persists, with transatlantic trafficking continuing to have a profound impact on the lived experiences of vulnerable communities across the globe. Slavery was and still is a violation of #HumanRights, resulting in brutal labour, sexual and inhumane exploitation, and an enduring pernicious legacy of racism. The concept of equal and unconditional dignity can only be achieved universally once the deconstruction of racism takes place, particularly with the younger generation, liberating themselves and future generations from the prejudicial ignorance and constructions of the past. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa advocates and teaches through our Adolescent and #PSHE #WASH programming the importance of developing a social and emotional sense of values, respectful dialogue, peaceful tolerance, and mutual understanding which combats all forms of discrimination, including those based on gender. We take every opportunity to help our youth to understand Africa’s history, learn about the destructive effects of colonisation, and make the connection between the slave trade and the widespread discrimination and racism that characterises today’s society. Collective intergenerational efforts to fight injustice is essential to dismantle political, economic and structural power imbalances rooted in enslavement which still deny equality of opportunity. Let us work together to inspire every generation to build societies based on integrity and solidarity, so that we can bring an end to modern slavery. #TeenageTuesday #WASHWednesday

FROM August 22nd, 2022

“No violence can be justified in the name of religion.” - Pope Francis As this new week begins with the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, I totally agree that upholding peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association, especially to strengthen democracy and combat intolerance is an important mission for us all. Interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing, the open, constructive and respectful discussion of interfaith and intercultural expression and dialogue is a human right. As acts of violence increase towards religious communities and minorities globally, we must immediately condemn, provide victims with the appropriate support and assistance, work together to enhance the implementation of existing legal regimes to protect individuals and increase efforts to expand human rights education. My Wellbeing Foundation Africa, through our grassroots advocacy and frontline programming, is an intentional and strategic #ForceForGood and is #CommittedToCaring, by promoting #FreedomOfReligionOrBelief, as enshrined in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of #HumanRights @UN, and facilitating empowering and considerate dialogue between various groups. Today serves as a reminder of the need to protect the infrangible right of religious freedom and the consequences when a country fails to do so. Let us vow to do better and create societies that are free from violence. #ToyinSaraki #Alaafia #Wellbeing #MaternalMonday

FROM August 19th, 2022

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, we must collectively come together to support those facing humanitarian crises. As we face record-high humanitarian needs around the world this World Humanitarian Day #WHD2022, it is with deep gratitude that I recognize and praise the dedication of essential frontline staff, who deliver lifesaving assistance without hesitation each day. I am honoured to thank our various Wellbeing Foundation Africa partner stakeholders and governmental organizations such as UNHCR, UNFPA, UNDP, UNEP and stand for the safety and security of humanitarian workers and for principled humanitarian action. As Inaugural Global Health Ambassador of WHO Foundation, I echo the need for our global health community and private sector partners to power health emergency preparedness to reach true health equity. #Ittakesavillage to support people in need, and health-care workers, including the WBFA #midwives #nurses #doctors and #staff are central to humanitarian action. They go wherever vulnerable people are. 📸 Adagom Refugee Resettlement Community, Cross River State, Nigeria 2021 #FrontlineFriday #WorldHumanitarianDay

FROM August 17th, 2022

I started the working week with a timely meeting of essentially glad tidings in conversation with UN Women Nigeria Representative, Madame Beatrice Ekong, convened by AWLN Chair, Professor Funmi J. Para-Mallam mni, focusing clearly on the continued and future impact of inclusivity, empowerment, local ownership and integrity for women and girls across the continent. It was a pleasure to join the like-minded and spirited women of the African Women Leaders Network Nigeria Steering Council, a ground-breaking movement implemented with the support of the Office of the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security, and of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women UN Women. In line with the Africa Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the AWLN Nigeria Chapter discussed the vision of the “Africa We Want”, one where women and girls are supported to reach their rightful roles in all spheres of life. Working together through our network of over 200 diverse women leaders in media, politics, diplomatic corps, academics, research, civil society, private sector, young women, rural women and women in the diaspora, our targeted aim toward development, governance, peace and stability, economic empowerment and women's access to finance directly aid in achieving #SDG Goal 5. Empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality are crucial to my Wellbeing Foundation Africa's safe childbirth and safer childhood targets as we work towards improving social determinants, creating inclusive, open, prosperous and healthy societies. Together, with the AWLN, and in support of the delivering as One UN approach, our active engagement and advocacy aspire to share resources, opportunities, solidarity, and partnership for mobilisation of an equitable future. #GenerationEquality    

FROM August 12th, 2022

Today on International Youth Day 2022, myself and the Wellbeing Foundation Africa are reiterating and amplifying our commitment to taking action and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals across all generations to ensure no one is left behind. Intergenerational solidarity is essential for the positive and progressive development of society, especially as the bias of ageism continues to go unaddressed in health and human rights, leading to a lack of fulfilled potential. Reflecting on the Global Report on Ageism launched by the United Nations in March 2021, our youth continue to face adversity and barriers across employment, political participation, health and justice. The key to shaping these spheres to be accessible and brave spaces will manifest from an engaged and productive intergenerational intervention strategy, increasing the strength and unity to achieve #SDGs for all. With a sustained focus and mission anchored primarily on the successful delivery of goals 3, 5 and 6, good health and wellbeing, gender equality and #WASH, WBFA frontline programming educates, empowers, and advocates for open communication and community and social connectedness across all ages, young and old alike. We encourage the joining of forces, collaboration and fight against discrimination in hopes of an equitable and inclusive future that listens to elders while including youth at the table. Let’s aim to build back better by leveraging all generations’ wisdom, knowledge and lived experiences.  

 
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FROM August 10th, 2022

I am honoured to be invited by UNDP to lend my voice to, advocate for, and champion #ImagineNigeria. As the Imagine Nigeria Report, which presents the findings of a multi-stakeholder foresight exercise led by the UNDP, launches today at the State House, Abuja, I am envisioning a Nigeria where we collectively work together to create a progressive, prosperous and peaceful nation. Imagine Nigeria considers the multiple pathways in which Nigeria can further develop in the promise of a flourishing and bright future. With over 300 participants from all regions of Nigeria and the diaspora, who put in over 6,000 hours of consultation, research, analysis and scenario-building processes, the report aims to now mobilise various stakeholders globally for action. As our world rapidly changes from technology to urbanisation, and faces challenges such as the pandemic, it is time to act quickly and act together. Through assessing trends, Imagine Nigeria shares four potential scenarios to shine a critical light on future uncertainties, and then recommends five pillars for advocacy and action, from now until 2050, to witness transformation and engender a new level of commitment and cooperation within Africa. Building trust is the key to a thriving Nigeria and must be the basis of all engagement, policy and operation. Through shared hope, values and commitments, we can create a new national narrative that builds a culture of innovation, catalyses the green economy, and leads Africa. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and I look forward to continuing to facilitate this change, through empowering communities with the power to act, by sharing knowledge and resources to uplift Nigeria. #ImagineNigeriaChallenge

 
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FROM August 9th, 2022

As I mark International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, I am reminded of a young group I met in September 2019 when I honoured the invitation of the Independent Midwives Association of Namibia, and also of the efforts and aspirations of a young traditional cultural dance group I met at the United Nations headquarters in New York that same year. These encounters exemplified the role of indigenous women and girls in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge, particularly when it comes to health and societal wellbeing. Indigenous knowledge in the sphere of health, often first present as traditional birth attendants, who aim to fill the gap of inadequate or completely absent public services. From providing their communities with essential information on sexual and reproductive rights to #GBV, generations of indigenous women have passed down critical skills and practices to help mitigate the effects of inaccessible healthcare. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and I aim to empower indigenous women and girls with training and modern practices to shape the evolution of trusted traditional wisdom with modern techniques being applied for good. The transmission of ancestral knowledge and advocacy which takes place as the carers of society are crucial, but we must also equip these knowledge keepers, leaders and human rights defenders with contemporary education, #WASH, and autonomy to combat harmful traditional practices, and tackle the rise of intersecting levels of discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. At home in Nigeria, our WBFA community midwives continue to work towards achieving the #SDG2030 Goals and WHO Global Targets 2025, to improve maternal, infant and young child health outcomes, while viewing wellbeing as both an individual and a collective right, strongly determined by community, land and the natural environment, as conceptualised by indigenous peoples. We must acknowledge, strengthen and support indigenous midwifery through healthy policy and integration while creating opportunities for upskilling and reskilling. Let’s reclaim the role of these heroines! #IndigenousPeoplesDay #TeenageTuesday    

FROM August 6th, 2022

In a first-ever-in-Nigeria pioneer partnership project, and aligned with the society pillar of Medela Cares, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa #frontline heroes, midwives and doctors are improving the #breastfeeding support offered to new mothers in Nigeria, by delivering NICU-specific education and training on the value of human milk and how to build sufficient milk supply for long-term lactation and breastfeeding. As committed members of the United Nations Every Woman Every Child Initiative, together we aim to drive change and improve health outcomes for generations to come. Research has shown that 47% of the deaths of children under 5 years occur in the first 28 days of life, and these deaths are a result of preventable diseases that can be avoided through improved nutrition with the mother's milk. Collaboratively, my Wellbeing Foundation Africa through our #midwives have introduced, and continue to deploy, educate and facilitate the use of Medela Cares lactation strategy and tools by leading training sessions for healthcare workers and mothers, in the 3 focal project states of Lagos, Kwara and Abuja; supporting the timely initiation of breastmilk expression, improved the capacity of use of breast pumps within facilities, promoted exclusive breastfeeding and maintenance to empower mothers to nurture their babies through optimal nutrition. Mother’s Own Milk is essential, and the lactation care provided to mothers must acknowledge its importance of it to ultimately improve infant feeding and health outcomes in Nigeria. #WBW2022 #WorldBreastfeedingWeek

FROM August 4th, 2022

#Breastfeeding provides food security to infants from the very beginning of life, promoting overall family health and wellbeing. #Nutrition is essential to #nurturing, and is linked to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to global maternal and infant survival. Breastfeeding is an essential part of good nutrition, food security and reduction of inequalities, and through engaging with valued partners along the #warmchain, my  Wellbeing Foundation Africa is strengthening the capacity for transformative change and equality. Placing the mother-baby dyad at the core of our programming and development ensures an optimal level of continuum of care, and that mothers are empowered with a more fulfilling and effective breastfeeding experience. WBFA’s Mamacare+N, is a maternal, newborn and child health service, with a focus on women and girls, supported by our forward thinking partners UNFPA, UNFPA Nigeria and Nutrition International, encompassed key interventions and access in family planning, iron and folic acid supplementation, and nutritional advice, as they mutually reinforce each and contribute to ending intergenerational cycles of poor health and poverty. From drawing up strategies for the protection, promotion and support of nutrition from and during breastfeeding, including monitoring and evaluation to inform national analysis, targets and policy, we must acknowledge that #breastisbest!  

FROM August 2nd, 2022

It is well proven that breast milk is the optimal source of nutrition for babies, yet the long-term benefits are lesser known. Associated with healthier adolescents, #breastfeeding for 6 months or longer, compared to less than 6 months or not at all, has shown improved cognitive performance, socio-affective responding and physical wellbeing from childhood into adolescence. In other words, healthy, happy, breastfed babies create healthier and more productive teenagers. To empower early childhood development through improved nutrition starting with early and exclusive breastfeeding, my Wellbeing Foundation Africa has executed strategic public-private and philanthropic investments to improve breastfeeding across Nigeria. Between 2017 and 2020, the WBFA Alive and Thrive, McCann Health, FHI360 and Gates Foundation consortium promoted appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding #IYCF, and encouraged optimal breastfeeding practices at over 370 private medical facilities in Lagos and Kaduna States. Our #Mamacare360 Midwifery-led #ANC #PNC programme continues to promote early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding, providing the lactation support required for mothers and healthcare facilities across Nigeria, activating and actualising the WHO and UNICEF’s Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative's "Ten Steps For Successful Breastfeeding" in order to support mothers and newborns. These steps highlights the support which the mother needs while the support healthcare and hospitals should provide to all mothers and their newborns after birth. As we work to achieve a world where breastfeeding is the cultural norm and where mothers and families are enabled to feed and care optimally for their infants and children, let us continue to amplify and reflect on how breastfeeding contributes to a brighter and better healthy society for years to come. #WBW2022 #TeenageTuesday #WorldBreastFeedingWeek2022

FROM August 1st, 2022

As we celebrate a new month, with the beginning of #WorldBreastfeedingWeek2022 this #MaternalMonday, commemorating the Innocenti Declaration signing on the 1st of August 1990, we focus on protection, promotion and support of Breastfeeding. Since then and continuously progressing: WBFA and I prioritise the advancement, strengthening and maintenance of breastfeeding, by providing the universal right of Respectful Maternity Care #RMC, aligned with #SDG 3, ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all, through our Mamacare360 programme which improves maternal and infant survival, health and wellbeing throughout the antenatal, birth and postnatal periods. Our Wellbeing Foundation Africa Mamacare Baby Friendly Antenatal and Postnatal, which began in 2015, continues to reach mums daily in 8 states, while our Mamacare Digital Whatsapp keeps mums in contact with midwives as lactation counsellors across Nigeria. Each day we do more than advocate to step up education and support for breastfeeding by understanding, implementing and adhering to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, the WABA Global Warm Chain of Support for Breastfeeding and quality WBFA Mamacare360 #midwifery which was launched on World Breastfeeding Day 2011. Breast is always best. Let’s foster a cohesive breastfeeding movement and enable equitable environments for mothers and families to be empowered, to optimally, safely and actively breastfeed their baby. #WBW2022 #WarmChain #HappyNewMonth

FROM July 30th, 2022

As our world becomes more globalised and connected through the expansion and use of technology, the atrocity of human trafficking has morphed and consumed our online platforms and cyberspace. On World Day Against Human Trafficking, I am highlighting how this horrific crime, which attacks the rights and safety of a person, is severely affecting women and girls, who already represent the mass of trafficked persons globally. From conflicts to climate change and particularly during the pandemic, we have seen the vulnerability and isolation of humanity. Being online was a haven for many, allowing them to connect with family and friends or continue their education. Yet, human traffickers have taken advantage of this time in cyber history by using sophisticated technology to identify, track, control, degrade and exploit victims. That is why my Wellbeing Foundation Africa has always emphasised the need for technology awareness, understanding, security, and education on this topic through our Adolescent Skills and Drill programme. As trusted frontline staff, we teach our youth internet safety to prevent and mitigate the risk of them falling victim online and transparently communicate the dangers they may face. Our WBFA #midwives continue to protect, support and are an ever dependable network for our youth to reach out to if they are uncertain or feel anxious regarding a cyber situation. Technology may enable human trafficking to a degree we have yet to fully fathom, but it can also be a critical tool in fighting against it. Through the collaboration and committed participation of governments, law enforcement, regulators, the private sector and civil society, we can invest in policies and innovative technology-based solutions to ensure a safe and secure space for all online. I look ahead to the United Nations Global Digital Compact at the 2023’s Summit of the Future, to standardise policy around good governance in the digital space. Our use of technology has great opportunity, we must harness its power, to protect our communities, and eradicate human trafficking. #EndHumanTrafficking

 
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FROM July 29th, 2022